Deputize ‘Em! Why the Feds Need the Private Sector’s Help in Cybersecurity

October 30, 2013 | By | Reply More

As cyberthreats continue to grow in number and complexity, the U.S. government’s attempts to secure everything from data to national security systems is growing more complicated while simultaneously becoming more important. Beyond the historical and traditional realm of protecting borders and citizens from physical harm, the federal government is now engaged in a daily cyberwar with everyone from teenage hackers to political dissidents — all in an effort to keep the country and its systems up and running.

Private Sector Help in Cybersecurity

It’s no wonder degrees such as a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Information are becoming more popular; they lead to a growing job market both in the government and the private sector. Since the dawn of the Internet Age, national defense has had to shift its priorities to include the virtual realm. However, given that the private sector makes all of the ever-evolving devices and software the country — and the government — uses, the federal government is no match for the expanding curve that technology places it in. When a hacktivist group strikes or a rogue state infiltrates and gathers sensitive data, the public faith, which is of infinite value to politicians, is eroded. In addition to the actual damage done through lost data, time, money and trust, the public’s doubts lead to economic concerns and instability. The federal government has its work cut out for it.

Enter the Private Sector

For the most part, software companies have not proven to be highly motivated to make security a priority. Because they are not held legally and financially liable for weaknesses in the systems they create, and the money lost by companies and individuals who use their software and hardware, they emphasize more on staying competitive by developing the next Big Thing than they do on making sure the last Big Thing was secure. As cybersecurity issues continue to multiply and get noticed, however, that needs to change. Here are a few of the ways a private company can help increase cyber security:

  • Embrace a security philosophy: A company — for the most part — can only perform the functions its mission mandates.  Security has to be as much a part of a tech company’s business model as innovation is.
  • Cooperation and collaboration: Because a computer or network’s security can be reduced to its weakest link, one program’s mighty security can be completely undermined by the weakness in another. Companies and developers need to get everybody else on board.
  • Pressure the government to update laws: Rules and regulations are not keeping pace with innovation, which hampers security efforts. Legislation moves slower than technology. The private sector needs to pressure elected officials to write and pass flexible laws allowing for information to be shared and used so security efforts can be maximized.

Cyber Security

The Roadblocks Ahead

A lot still stands in the way of the government and the private sector working together closely on cybersecurity issues. As of right now, it’s still illegal for the government to share with the private sector regarding government security breaches. This lack of information greatly hampers any efforts that may be made by the people creating and maintaining the programs, software and hardware breached to right the security failures and foresee any potential problems. There is also the issue of the private sector’s reluctance to embrace security as necessary because they are afraid that increased regulation will mean increased cost.

More is needed to provide the groundwork and teamwork cybersecurity requires. From the federal government’s tight reigns on information sharing to the business community’s concerns over dollars and competition, the road ahead is not an easy one. It will require sacrifices by all players. Thankfully, consumers and citizens are one in the same. As cybersecurity continues to enter more and more into the forefront of the public consciousness, the public can provide pressure through their wallets and through their votes.

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Category: Antivirus, Telecom News

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