I’ve put enough notches in my cyberbelt to speak with confidence on tech security and I’m reasonably sure most of you take me seriously, but it’s nice when the President of the United States backs up your message about the state of cybersecurity, especially when that message is that our work has only just begun. In a Wall Street Journal Op Ed piece published today, President Obama announced an aggressive plan to improve America’s cybersecurity profile, starting with increasing the nation’s budget on technology security to $19 billion. Three billion of that planned increase is targeted at upgrading Federal computer systems, many of which he recognizes as being woefully past due for an upgrade. And as is always the case, those computer upgrades are going to need tech-savvy hands, hopefully supplied by a tech-focused “Peace Corps” initiative and a new cybersecurity Center of Excellence which will formed as a collaboration point between the government and private sector. Some of this new money will also fund a national security awareness campaign (and you thought my password nagging was bad!). To cap it off, he is also calling for the creation of a bi-partisan Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity and creating a new national Chief Information Security Officer.
What this means for you:
In the short run, not much is going to change for you or your organization, even if you happen to work for or with an organization that might be first in line for Federally-funded computer upgrades. Federal programs never move swiftly, and I doubt this one will be any different. In order for any problem to be solved, it must be first acknowledged. Allocating money (however trivial it may seem in the face of our defense spend) is an important step in the right direction. Many business both big and small fail to budget for security issues, sometimes through willful denial, and most often because of a lack of understanding about how important cybersecurity has become. We all know the government regularly gets low grades on their technology proficiency – hopefully money won’t be a part of that problem going forward. The more important lesson here is that while money does help, talent, cooperation and a plan to change are crucial to developing a sound security policy, whether you are the federal government or sole proprietor.
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