By David Hoffman, director of security policy and global privacy officer at Intel
On October 18th, I had the opportunity to join the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, for the ringing of the NASDAQ opening bell. The event was in recognition of Cyber Security Awareness Month, and the Stop, Think, Connect campaign. The National Cyber Security Alliance(NCSA) organized the day, as part of their month long series of activities to create awareness to improve cyber security.
I am fortunate to be a member of the NCSA board of directors, and am constantly impressed with the dedication and energy of the staff and my other board members. This year’s Cyber Security Awareness Month is particularly important as we continue to see significant cyber security threats and proposed solutions from policymakers in Congress and the Administration. Earlier this month, the House Republican Cyber Security Task Force issued its set of recommendations, which build on proposals made in the Senate and by the Administration. The Task Force specifically called out the Stop, Think, Connect campaign in their document.
The House’s legislative recommendations are worth taking note of, as they appropriately recognize the cyber security threat as real and immediate, while also understanding cyber security needs to benefit from the innovation that can come from targeted regulation with specific encouragement for private sector cyber security investment. The Task Force noted the special importance of protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure. They also recommended that any definition of critical infrastructure should be limited to elements “that, if damaged or destroyed, could cause great loss of life or significant economic damage impacting our national security.” This proposed definition recognizes that the broader the scope of critical infrastructure, the more diluted the regulations addressing it will have to be. To make the biggest impact on protecting the critical infrastructure, Congress will need to focus regulation only on the most critical functions and organizations.
The Task Force recommendations also realize that to make a significant impact across the entire economy and digital infrastructure, it will take collaboration and cooperation between government and private industry. Whether it is the development of standards and best practices, improved information sharing or continuing awareness campaigns, the document recognizes that best results can come from effective public – private partnerships. I was reminded of this private – public collaboration point during the event at the NASDAQ.
NCSA’s leadership in developing the Stop, Think, Connect campaign and working with the Department of Homeland Security shows we can make progress. The NASDAQ has been an engine for investment in the most innovative companies. The technologies these companies develop and bring to market have created the great bulk of the global digital infrastructure. Companies like Intel continue to invest in security innovation to better protect data so individuals can trust their use of connected digital devices across the Compute Continuum.
The Task Force recommendations create a model for discussion not just for US legislation, but for how many countries can address these significant issues by focusing on public – private partnerships. The commitment symbolized by both Secretary Napolitano and the many company executives on stage at the NASDAQ shows that this public – private relationship can serve as a model to inspire the global collaboration necessary to improve cyber security.