In March 2023, the White House released its National Cybersecurity Strategy 2023, which outlines the United States' approach to cybersecurity over the next several years. This comprehensive document outlines the government's plan to strengthen cybersecurity for public and private sector organizations. As cyberattacks continue to increase in frequency and complexity, companies need to be aware of these four key points to ensure they are adequately prepared for what lies ahead.
Improved Cybersecurity Infrastructure
The strategy laid out a comprehensive plan to enhance critical infrastructure cybersecurity. Critical infrastructure includes things like power grids, transportation systems, and communication networks. Protecting these systems is essential to maintaining national security, and the strategy calls for increased efforts to ensure they are secure from cyberattacks. Companies operating critical infrastructure should take extra precautions to ensure their systems are secure and prepared for attacks.
The strategy also emphasizes the need for improved incident response capabilities. While preventing cyberattacks is important, it is also important to have a plan in place for responding to attacks when they occur.
The government plans to improve its incident response capabilities, and private sector organizations should do the same. Companies should have a clear plan in place for responding to cyberattacks, including how to identify and contain the attack, recover lost data, and prevent similar attacks from happening in the future.
Investment in Cyber Professionals
Building a strong cybersecurity workforce for the future is a key component of the strategy. The government plans to invest in cybersecurity education and training to develop a skilled workforce to effectively protect against cyber threats. The strategy plans to address the glaring need for cybersecurity expertise across all sectors of the economy but explicitly states that critical infrastructure will be given a special focus.
In addition, overcoming the lack of diversity in the cyber workforce will be emphasized. The strategy makes a direct call to address systemic inequalities that prevent underrepresented communities from impacting the cyber security ecosystem - a massive step in the right direction to ensure we tap into the full scope of diverse talent nationwide.
While the strategy is deliberately focused on educating talent in the public sector, the private sector is beseeched to follow the government's blueprint for strengthening its cyber safeguards by investing in the future workforce. As more organizations rely on digital technologies and face increasing cyber threats, there is a growing need for skilled cybersecurity professionals to help protect against these threats.
By investing in training and education programs for cybersecurity professionals, organizations can help to close this skills gap and ensure that there are enough skilled professionals to meet the growing demand for cybersecurity expertise.
Increased Responsibility on the Private Sector
The Cyber Incident Notification Act is a proposed law that would require federal agencies, contractors, and critical infrastructure operators to report cyber incidents to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). One notable aspect of the proposed law is that it would create liability for software vendors that neglect to implement appropriate measures to safeguard their software.
In the past, responsibility has fallen on end-users – including individuals, small businesses, state and local governments, and system administrators. This is no longer the case, as software vendors can now be held legally responsible for cyber incidents caused by their software if they are found to have been negligent in their security measures.
This provision could help incentivize software vendors to prioritize cybersecurity and take proactive measures to secure their products. The strategy emphasizes the importance of collaboration between government agencies, private sector organizations, and international partners to achieve robust cyber measures. Companies should be prepared to work closely with the government and other organizations to ensure their cybersecurity measures are continuously improving.
Implications for Companies Operating Internationally
International cooperation on cybersecurity issues is another important focus of the strategy. The government plans to work with international partners to promote international norms and develop cyber deterrence strategies - especially for countries identified as safe havens for cybercriminals. Therefore, companies operating internationally should be aware of cybersecurity risks in other countries and work with local partners to ensure their cybersecurity measures are effective.
The strategy also emphasizes the need for increased information sharing and collaboration between governments and the private sector on a global scale, which could help companies to better understand and mitigate cyber risks in different regions. Overall, the strategy underscores the critical importance of cybersecurity for companies operating in a global context and emphasizes the need for strong partnerships and collaboration across different sectors and jurisdictions.
The National Cybersecurity Strategy 2023 represents a comprehensive approach to improving cybersecurity in the United States and beyond. The key points made in the strategy emphasize the need for workforce investment, innovation, and international cooperation. Companies should take note of these key points and ensure that their cybersecurity measures are effective and resilient to emerging cyber threats. By working together with the government and other organizations, companies can help ensure that the nation is prepared to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex cybersecurity landscape.