Already in the first months of 2015, the White House has taken several steps in the ongoing cybersecurity struggle. In his State of the Union address on Jan. 20, President Obama made it clear that cybersecurity is an integral issue for the government and that federal legislation is necessary.
Data breaches seem to occur more often now than ever before, and in every industry. For example, at the beginning of April, Health IT Security reported that Life Care Center of Attleboro, Massachusetts, had announced a potential loss of private patient information such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth and medical records. When going through files in November 2014, auditors discovered that boxes of information from 1992 to 1994, 2006 and 2011 were missing. This could create problems for patients who were treated by the hospital and also people who were employed there at that time. Another important example is the Sony hack of late 2014. Whatever the information being targeted, making sure it’s protected is one of the Obama Administration’s priorities.
Obama’s proposal for cybersecurity legislation would make it so that companies have to inform affected customers within 30 days of a discovered data breach. On Feb. 12, he signed an executive order appointing the Department of Homeland Security as the head of operations on the cybersecurity front. The executive order stressed that information sharing between the private sector and federal agencies is integral to the cyber defense strategy. The most recent April 1 executive order reiterates the previous points and sets guidelines for how to combat data breaches.
The White House’s attention to and insistence about the serious issue of cybersecurity highlights the importance of collaboration between federal agencies as a strategy moving forward.