Can industry overcome political differences to work with Trump admin on cybersecurity?
- Cyberthreats are growing from increased digital interdependence, sophisticated rivals and a lack of coordination and collaboration to combat threats, according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in an op-ed for CNBC. The DHS is responding with a "collective defense" strategy bringing together industry, federal agencies and other parties for real-time, collective data sharing and action.
- To protect critical infrastructure, the DHS launched the National Risk Management Center last week to bridge the divide between government and private sector, Nielsen said. It will offer a "one-stop shop" for the private sector to access programs and coordinate defense and serve as an incubator space for ideas and partnerships.
- Vice President Mike Pence reiterated the gravity of cybersecurity at the DHS' National Cybersecurity Summit in New York last week, calling out risks to infrastructure, intellectual property, the economy and government. Pence also called on the Senate to pass legislation this year to create the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency under the DHS to coordinate federal resources for security.
Cybersecurity and modernizing outdated technology efforts go hand-in-hand for the Trump administration. Early this year the White House allocated roughly $80 billion in the budget, a 5.2% increase, to bolster these efforts. DHS was the recipient of $1 billion for cybersecurity efforts in federal IT, including information sharing with the private sector, international partners and lower levels of government.
While leaders across sectors and industries agree that breaking down information silos and collaborating is beneficial and necessary to fight advanced threats and actors, some can be reluctant to disclose incidents or shed light on internal processes. In addition, the often political nature of the Trump administration has led to friction with the heads of many companies.
While CEOs might put aside differences for the greater cybersecurity good in the short-term, there is no guarantee that a political event won't cause another incident like the dissolution of business councils last fall following controversial remarks by the president on the Charlottesville protests.
In the last few months, employees at big tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Salesforce have put pressure on leadership to distance themselves from agencies engaging in controversial behavior, such as ICE and the Pentagon.
But recent fallout and fear from Russian attacks on the electric grid, while arguably overstated in reports, has underscored the need for immediate cybersecurity action. Many security experts are confident that the U.S. is losing the cyberwar because of lagging efforts to pool resources and intelligence, which can help identify new types of attacks, patterns across incidents and malicious actors.
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