U.S. organizations are in a current state of security crisis. What has long simmered underneath the public’s radar has now emerged as major cybersecurity problems that people are beginning to realize are endemic to the way things are done. Information is connected to the point that everyone has the potential to have their data compromised, and this means that agencies must act to protect people’s security. Government agencies, specifically, need to pay attention to the rising standards that must be met in order to keep not only their own data safe, but the information that they process as well. The political will is currently there, across the board, for broader security standards for both the private and public sector, and it is likely that cybersecurity bills will pass during the upcoming House and Senate sessions.
Aaron Boyd of the Federal Times noted that 70 percent of private sector cybersecurity professionals agree with President Barack Obama that there needs to be better standards for cybersecurity, and that this should include both private and public sector information sharing and analysis organizations. There will be $25 million in grants dispersed over the next five years to colleges, universities and national laboratories for those currently in pursuit of better algorithms for the protection of information online. Whatever changes come, they will need to be swift. Many companies such as Sony and Home Depot have already been hit hard by attacks. Agencies and other groups within the public sector as well need to pay attention to the amount of damage that has been done to those organizations, as it is only a matter of time before either a group or an individual attempts to target a government server to prove a point.
New legislation needs to be as strong as possible
Consumer confidence is key for raising the economy, and weak action on the issue of cybersecurity may cause larger problems in the long run, argued Bill Solms, President and CEO of Wave Systems.
“These hacks erode consumer confidence just as we look for greater consumer participation in the recovering economy. They slow innovation as consumers and enterprises hesitate in using new services, devices and platforms,” Solms wrote. “Now is our opportunity to confront these threats. If it doesn’t happen now, the same conversations will continue for years as the consequences of inaction become only more severe – and the U.S. will be that much farther behind in addressing them.”
Agencies that are interested in protecting their data may find that they are able to through the use of cloud computing for local government servers, which allows data to be protected by groups with access to a greater security budget than those agencies may have. This legislation may also open up the possibilities for more DOD contracts sent out for cybersecurity professionals who can fix servers and networks to have more inherently strong structures. While enforcing cybersecurity laws may be important, it is similarly necessary that the new way of holding information online becomes more intrinsically safe, whether that means storing more information on encrypted servers, or utilizing more naturally secure means to transmit information across the Internet.
As long as there is money to be made off of stealing information, there will be incentive for private and public servers to be hacked. In order to protect their own and their clients information, agencies should look out for ways to improve their security cheaply. Whether this means enforcing better standards with regard to security protocol on-site, or making use of new technologies to reduce the cost of security as a whole, agencies should be ready to commit to safety.