Are the right cybersecurity resources in place on the federal level

Posted on Jan 18, 2016

Effective cybersecurity efforts rely on a wide range of moving parts coming together and working in concert. Businesses and government agencies must take the initiative and implement security systems and protocols that protect their digital assets and defend against unwanted intrusions. Organizations must also find opportunities for collaboration and cooperate in instances where sharing information about attempted or successful breaches helps all parties involved. They must also work with federal and state governments to coordinate their efforts and draw on available information and resources as appropriate.

The right approach to cybersecurity is crucial for effective defense

The recent passage of CISA is a major boon for organizations concerned with ongoing cybersecurity efforts, but there are some other issues that need to be addressed to ensure digital defense reaches the highest, most effective level possible.

Is more funding needed?
Federal government news source FCW reported on a series of hearings held by the House Science, Space and Technology Committee in early January, which centered around CISA, the current state of cybersecurity affairs in Washington and other related topics. A number of executives from a host of different companies provided testimony at the hearings, with the general sentiment that more funding is needed for federal government cybersecurity efforts and programs. This concern was expressed in a variety of ways, including words from Larry Clinton, CEO of the Internet Security Alliance.

"Government needs to follow the private sector's lead," Clinton said at the hearing, according to FCW. "Now more and more, the senior administration officials are understanding that cybersecurity is not just for the IT department."

"Policymakers and legislators must maintain their efforts to understand more about cybersecurity."

Clinton suggested that policymakers and legislators must learn more about cybersecurity and maintain their efforts to understand more about the field. The sentiment that digital defense needs to be an organizationwide concern and not limited to those who directly manage a company's computer infrastructure is widespread. Nextgov said the major thrust from private sector speakers at the hearings was more money is needed to make cyber defense more effective. Clinton expressed the opinion that the federal government should increase spending to match or reach similar levels to large private corporations that have made cybersecurity a priority.

A constantly changing environment
Rep. Barbara Comstock, who chairs the House committee's Research and Technology Subcommittee, said cybersecurity support, be it in the form of legislation, agencies or other aid, needs to be adaptive and responsive. Because the pace of cyberattacks is so fast, it's critical that the government both innovate in terms of processes and remain agile with its legislation. Leaving the door open to potential future changes is vital to make sure cybercrime doesn't outpace the regulations currently on the books. Comstock said such efforts would take time but are a focus.

FCW said Comstock expects more discussions on cybersecurity and the federal government's involvement in 2016. She also discussed the need to prioritize responses to attacks and implement some level of proactive planning to better defend against attacks. With the speed at which cybersecurity changes in mind, this is likely good news for organizations.

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