October is always a turning point seasonally – but did the roots planted during CyberSecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) bloom all the way into springtime? The short answer is yes. This designation, launched by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Cyber Security Alliance back in 2004, has remained steadfast, unwavering in relevance, importance end effectiveness.
Many leading corporations and federal agencies have joined to make the Internet safer and more secure through Twitter (#NCSAM), memos and contributed articles. The indiscriminate and invasive signature of cyber threats, however, have no boundaries creating the need for cyber vigilance on a 24/7/365 basis. While October is the designated month for elevating awareness, it isn’t the only month we hunker down and focus on improving our cybersecurity posture; nor should it be.
Cyber-crimes have become almost ubiquitous; ever-present and growing month-over-month and year-over-year; increasing in frequency and type. The security needs of agencies are in a constant state of evolution. Technology advancements necessitate IT modernization, requiring agencies to constantly think about how they approach cybersecurity to ensure sensitive data is protected from prevailing, increasingly sophisticated, threats. While everyone has responsibility for ensuring individual Internet safety, let’s take a look at who has stepped up to make lasting change.
Who’s Leading the Charge?
The White House continues to be an advocate for improving the federal government’s cybersecurity posture. After the release of the President’s Management Agenda, many agencies increased hiring for cybersecurity-related jobs to meet rising demand. As a result, a new DHS Agency was created to lead cybersecurity and critical infrastructure security programs. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was established to coordinate with agencies on securing critical governmental infrastructures. In February, the Cyber Workforce bill was reintroduced, and generally, there is great focus amongst agencies and legislators to identify and train top cybersecurity talent.
In August, the Census Bureau found three thousand cybersecurity weaknesses in 33 of its 44 systems, giving the agency a lot of work to accomplish before the 2020 Census. This level of vulnerability creates a high risk environment and serves as a homing beacon for hackers. It also was a wakeup call for agencies to raise their game in the all too important stakes of national security. One such area involved ensuring the integrity of our election process. While Congress did introduced a bill to prevent future interference, it did not become law until after the 2018 elections. Indirectly supporting DHS’ claim that no evidence of tampering was found, Comparitech named the U.S. as the fifth most secure country in the world. Regardless, I suspect the 2020 elections to be no less tense and suspect as 2018s.
Implementing artificial intelligence (AI) to help overcome current cyber risks and reduce potential threats using algorithms is currently on the horizon for Feds. AI can be trained to quickly address threats and prevent hackers to protect valuable data. Multi-factor authentication is being deployed across various organizations to prevent data breaches and protect against weak passwords as well.
How Tech Data Can Help
The sophistication of hackers -domestic and foreign- has made the need for good cybersecurity a mandatory part of any system maintaining sensitive information. The need is today and the effort must be now. Tech Data Government Solutions has the knowledge and resources to help you bolster and secure your infrastructure from cyber threats. Learn more about our suite of security solutions that plug gaps in cybersecurity, RECON™ Security Suite. Mitigate your cybersecurity vulnerabilities and follow us on LinkedIn to keep up with the latest IT developments.
About the author
Tim Hannon serves as vice president of Public Sector Solutions for Tech Data. In this role, he is responsible for providing strategic direction for technology and solution delivery into the U.S. public sector market, which also includes the management of Tech Data Government Solutions, LLC and oversight of this subsidiary’s U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) IT 70 contract, GS-35F-0349S.