Governments renew urgency for cybersecurity improvements

There has been a tug-of-war between the private and public sectors over the past 12 months as government officials debate over the extent of the government's role in the cybersecurity ecosystem. While much of the discussion has been focused on companies that manage critical infrastructure services, regulations can have more widespread effects.

There are significant concerns remaining over how much influence the government may have on organizations, but some within the private sector have admitted that federal involvement in cybersecurity could have benefits, Wall Street Journal columnist Danny Yadron recently noted. Consultant James Lewis, for example, emphasized that some regulatory mandates may be necessary in order for companies to proactively stop network intrusions rather than respond to incidents after they occur.

The notion of information sharing has also reemerged, with industry experts calling for a consideration of the relationship between government agencies and private organizations. Yadron highlighted comments from MasterCard Chief Executive Ajay Banga, who said he wants the government to more actively share cyberthreat information. The private sector would not get this data for free, however, as they would be held to more stringent scrutiny in regard to their employed digital safeguards under Banga's plan.

Cybersecurity: A worldwide problem
The United States is not alone in its recent sense of cybersecurity urgency. As a recent report from the United Kingdom's Defence Select Committee showcases, organizations in the country are under similar pressures. Many of the cybersecurity issues faced by the country's military mirror concerns expressed by U.S. officials. As a result, the committee called for a significant overhaul of the Armed Forces' technology implementations and policies.

"The evidence we received leaves us concerned that with the Armed Forces now so dependent on information and communications technology, should such systems suffer a sustained cyber attack, their ability to operate could be fatally compromised," the report stated. "Given the inevitable inadequacy of the measures available to protect against a constantly changing and evolving threat, and given the Minister for the Cabinet Office's comment, it is not enough for the Armed Forces to do their best to prevent an effective attack."

The report highlighted the value of enhanced training and more thorough research and development to investigate improved computer security practices. Much like experts in the U.S., committee members stressed the importance of sharing data and reporting on progress made to implement effective digital safeguards.

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