During the White House Cyber Security Summit at Stanford University on Wednesday, February 13, 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama identified cyber security as a national public safety issue and signed an Executive Order urging the IT sector to join forces with the federal government and military to reinforce data security by sharing cyber security information.
Cyber security has been a national issue for several years in the U.S., especially in the corporate realm where data breaches can result in severe consequences such as the abrupt halt of business operations and cause serious financial harm to customers and companies alike.
Here are the main points we took away from this summit:
1. Cyber terrorism threats have increased.
President Obama revealed that since 2009, cyber security threats from terrorist groups have increased fivefold. Obama described the cyber-world as the “wild, wild West,” adding that the U.S. has been “asked to be the sheriff” of this space.
2. Sharing is the solution.
J. Michael Daniel, White House cyber-security coordinator, identified situations in the financial services industry where information sharing reduced the amount of low-level attacks and security breaches that companies experienced. This meant that these companies could focus personnel and energy on thwarting more advanced attacks. Since the summit also revealed the shortage of cyber security personnel—only one in every 20 positions needed in the cyber security space are occupied—sharing reduces the strain of this shortage on the system.
3. Strength in numbers.
Sharing cyber intelligence will improve data protection, but this method is only successful if all parties and sectors participate. Government agencies, law enforcement officials and the private sector must all cooperate in order to maximize cyber security.
Ryan Gillis, former White House cyber security official states, “ The way that privacy, security and business interests all interact and mutually reinforce each other – that’s something that’s been missing in the messaging around information sharing […] Too often, it’s been [stated] that privacy is at odds with security in business. When you better protect your networks, better protecting me as a consumer and individual, and as a company that’s better protecting my customers, I have a better relationship because I’m not issuing data breach notifications to them that we’ve lost your Social Security [to a hacker].”
Cyber security is a global issue best remedied by individual conscientiousness and cooperation across all sectors. Companies should always operate under a VPN with SSL or IPsec encrypted connections and accepted authentication methods—the highest security and compliance requirements.
HOB offers solutions for government agencies and the public sector alike, knowing that although IT needs may differ across these sectors, security demands will always be met to the highest standard.
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