Dr. Sean Peisert is an expert in cybersecurity. He works as a cybersecurity research and development lead, and also leads cybersecurity operations for an Internet backbone provider in California.

His current R&D focus includes “big data” security, security in high-performance and cloud computing environments, security in high-throughput networks, cybersecurity for power grid control systems, and security and privacy in medical environments, particularly very large medical data, such as genomics and medical imaging.

His recent R&D includes two provisional patents: one relating to security in data center and high-performance computing environments, and one relating to de-identifying geographic data while maintaining usefulness of that data. His work on power grid control system security has power utility, vendor, and consulting partners.

As Chief Cybersecurity Strategist for CENIC, he develops cybersecurity strategy and implements cybersecurity practices for CENIC’s enterprise and external network (CalREN), a 100Gb network in California, relied on by more than 10,000 institutions and 20 million users, including all of the University of California, the California State University system, the California Community Colleges, the Naval Postgraduate School, Stanford, CalTech, USC (including all of the academic medical centers); the California K-12 system; California’s Public Libraries; the Exploratorium; SFJAZZ; the California Academy of Sciences; and the Cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Alameda.


Dr. Peisert occasionally serves as a consultant to companies and organizations in areas of software, system, and network security strategy and design, and is available as a subject-matter expert advising executives, investors, and entrepreneurs developing or leveraging cybersecurity technologies.

His view of security is as an “enabling” capability that, when done properly, can allow organizations to operate more effectively, and not merely a set of practices and technologies that impose financial costs and burdens on a company’s employees and other users. His recent R&D has focused on developing cybersecurity techniques that improve and enable the use of distributed, high-performance, and cloud computing resources to conduct data analysis that would otherwise be difficult or impossible; and also R&D that improves the secure functioning of power grid control systems.

He also occasionally serves as an expert witness in computer forensics cases.


Dr. Peisert received his Ph.D., Masters, and Bachelors degrees in Computer Science from the University of California, San Diego. His background includes experience in cybersecurity at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), and as an adjunct associate professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis and also as an associate adjunct professor of public health sciences at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine.

He has also worked in both R&D and operational aspects of computer security and networking. His R&D work typically focuseses on developing processes and techniques that can provide meaningful, useful, and measurable improvements to and/or insights regarding computer security and its applications.

Recent highlights of the R&D that he has led include:

He has also worked on projects to:

As Chief Cybersecurity Strategist for CENIC, he develops cybersecurity strategy and implements cybersecurity practices for both CENIC’s enterprise and external network (CalREN) of more than 20 million users.

In 2007, he was honored as a Research Fellow by the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection, funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

He has taught university courses in security for health informatics, computer forensics, “insider” threats, and critical systems; advised numerous graduate students; and has led sponsored research and development projects covering a wide space of computer security including intrusion detection systems, forensic tools and techniques, data sanitization and anonymization, fault tolerance, electronic voting, SCADA/industrial control system security, and “insider” threats. He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers, invited articles, book chapters, and technical reports; and has given over 75 invited talks and tutorials in a variety of venues.

He is actively involved with the computer security community, as well as communities to which he studies, develops, and applies computer security techniques, including legal, medical, financial, and public policy organizations, and other organizations operating critical infrastructure. He works closely with industry, and is a member of the Cybersecurity Research and Development Advisory Committee for the California Joint Utility Program, “California Energy Systems for the 21st Century (CES-21),” a $35M, ratepayer-funded effort, involving the California Public Utilities Commission and state investor-owned utilities (IOUs), including SDG&E, SCE, and PG&E, in collaboration with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), to improve and expand energy systems to meet 21st-century needs.

He has led numerous cybersecurity-related working groups, including two workshops in 2015 for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research to establish key needs and directions for a high-performance computing cybersecurity research and development program. He also co-led the Open Science Cyber Risk Profile (OSCRP) working group – a cross-disciplinary group of computer security professionals and scientific researchers that worked to develop a document designed help researchers understand the cyber risks to their work, and how to talk with information security personnel at their institutions about those risks and the best ways to mitigate them. Prior to the 2008 U.S. presidential election, he co-authored a guide, distributed at the time via the American Bar Association, to help election officials understanding how computer forensic techniques can be applied to issues with electronic voting machines and related systems.

He is chair of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Security & Privacy; is associate editor-in-chief of IEEE Security & Privacy magazine; a steering committee member and past general chair of the New Security Paradigms Workshop; a steering committee member and past program co-chair of the Workshop on Cyber Security Experimentation and Test (CSET); and is past general chair for the 2015 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, the flagship conference for computer security research.


To inquire about retaining him on a project, please contact him by email at spp@peisert.net.

Further Information

More information about Dr. Peisert’s R&D work, including lists of his publications, security R&D projects, and press items are on his UC Davis and Berkeley Lab web sites.