News: Federal Report Urges Incoming Administration to Prioritize Cybersecurity

By: Absolute Editorial Team | 12/29/2016

The Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity established by President Obama recently released a 90-page Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy, a report whose explicit purpose was to make recommendations that would strengthen cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors. The report makes specific and excellent recommendations to address urgent cybersecurity challenges, including the obsolescence of the “classic concept of the security perimeter” brought about by mobile devices. Cybersecurity pros are urging the incoming Trump administration to heed the recommendations of the report.

“When it comes to cybersecurity, organizations cannot operate in isolation. It is impossible to stop all attacks. Resilience must be a core component of any cybersecurity strategy,” the commissioners said in their report. The report lays out actions that government, industry and consumers can take to better address cybersecurity threats, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in preventing and responding to cybersecurity events.

Specific recommendations in the report include:

  • Creating a new sibilant component agency to act as a cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection agency and which would administer a consolidated federal network
  • Form a public-private initiative to improve digital identity management
  • Increase cybersecurity awareness campaigns, including product labeling
  • Start a workforce program to train 100,000 new cybersecurity practitioners
  • Create a mandatory cybersecurity training program for senior officials in federal agencies to help create a top-down “culture of cybersecurity”
  • Provide assistance to SMBs to address cybersecurity
  • Create a set of risk-based security standards to address the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Addressing the “de facto” mobile workforce with greater security priority, noting that security for mobile devices is often not given a high priority
As the report indicates, “organizations and their employees require flexible and mobile working environments,” relying on BYOD and the cloud to enable mobile collaboration and communication. Despite this, mobile security is often an afterthought and an obvious gap in cybersecurity planning. “The classic concept of the security perimeter is largely obsolete,” so mobile security must be addressed. The report also goes into detail about steps that could be taken rapidly to improve the urgent threats posed by Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

President Obama issued a press release on the Report, outlining the various cybersecurity initiatives taken by his administration and how the Report builds upon that progress, as “there is much more to do” to “stay ahead of the cybersecurity curve” as a National security priority. The release states that the Obama Administration will “take additional action wherever possible” to take the recommended steps in the report and asks Congress to fully fund these urgent cybersecurity needs. It is unclear, at this time, whether the Trump team will accept the commission’s advice or who will be appointed to cybersecurity policy positions within the new Administration.

Whether the new Administration follows-through on the report or not, much can be gleaned by the private sector about how to improve cybersecurity standards through a risk-based approach that prioritizes resilience for responding to and recovering from cyber attacks.

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