Cybersecurity Insight

The President’s Cybersecurity Plan: What You Need To Know

11 Feb

Political leanings aside, the Obama administration released a new cybersecurity initiative aimed at beefing up protection and awareness within the government and around the country. Considering the various breaches and cyber attacks experience by both the private and public sector this past year alone, the proposed changes and upgrades will greatly assist in thwarting future hackers.

The Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) is taking on a number of action points including a major spending increase – $19 Billion from last year’s $14 Billion – on cybersecurity initiatives. A significant chunk of this budget is allocated toward updating the government’s antiquated operating system, Windows XP – a program that Microsoft stopped issuing upgrades for in 2014, meaning the government paid for patches to keep the system alive. Another change will be pushing two-factor authentication to the remaining 20% of government employees that are not integrated, along with moving the idea into the private sector. Finally, cybersecurity knowledge is becoming a major requisite at the workplace and in everyday life. The administration is investing in tuition forgiveness programs for those cybersecurity students selected to work for the government, along with training all employees and equipping them with basic cyber knowledge.

A majority of these initiatives are meant to deal solely with the public sector; however, for those in private industries the same principles can easily be applied:

  • Take a look at your current operating system – whether with your internal IT team or an outside resource, determine if it is up to the task of detecting and thwarting the cyber attacks that come its way. Consider any necessary patches that may be needed, or a complete overhaul; it may seem daunting but plenty of companies are able to assist in this process so your organization doesn’t bear the brunt of the work.
  • Two factor authentication is another option to keep the hackers and attacks at bay, and one to remember when looking at the avenues to take when updating your organization’s cybersecurity plan. It’s extra peace of mind for the company in question, and one more roadblock for the would-be assailants aiming to destroy networks and precious data.
  • Invest in your employees – make sure everyone is aware how to parse through a webpage or email to determine whether it is void of malware or misappropriated links, and other helpful skills. Not only will they be another stepping stone in your company’s cybersecurity protection plan, but they can take those same points and incorporate them into their personal web use techniques.

Does CNAP solve all the government’s problems in the cybersecurity protection sector? Absolutely not – technology is ever-changing, and hackers will continue to innovate and attack in unique styles that flummox organizations and individuals for years to come. However, these steps and others are moving in the right direction, and can also be integrated into sectors beyond just the government.