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Should Cyber Security Be Managed By The Federal Government

In today’s digital age, cybersecurity is a critical concern for all sectors of society, from private businesses to public institutions. It is especially crucial in the government sector, where sensitive data and essential services are at stake. This brings us to the question: should cyber security be managed by the federal government? To answer this question, we need to explore the current state of federal cybersecurity, the role of the federal government, and the potential impacts of different management approaches. So let’s dive right in!

Introduction

Understanding The Importance Of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is not just about computer security or about protecting information systems and networks. It’s about preserving our way of life in the digital age. From personal data to critical infrastructure, cybersecurity touches every aspect of our lives. It’s about ensuring that our online transactions are secure, our privacy is protected, and our critical services continue to operate despite cyber threats.

Cybersecurity is often a global issue. A study by KPMG revealed that 74% of CEOs believe that governments should work together internationally to establish cyber norms and regulations.

According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), cybersecurity is at the heart of defending the nation’s critical infrastructure against threats. CISA plays a pivotal role in coordinating cyber defense activities among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as with the private sector and international partners. Thus, understanding the importance of cybersecurity is the first step towards appreciating the role of the federal government in managing it.

Source- depositphotos.com

The Role Of Federal Government In Cybersecurity

The Current State Of Cybersecurity In The Government Sector

The federal government has a significant role in managing cybersecurity. Through agencies like CISA, it partners with other government entities to help manage their cyber risk. They provide resources, tools, training, and information materials to prevent, protect against, and mitigate security incidents. All of these efforts aim to create a common baseline of security across the various government networks and Federal Civilian Executive Branch (FCEB).

Moreover, the federal government also monitors anomalous cyber activity and responds to cyber incidents 24/7. In the event of a cyber issue, organizations can report directly to law enforcement agencies or to CISA through its dedicated reporting channels.

A Pew Research Center survey found that 64% of Americans believe that the federal government should play a major role in ensuring the security of computer systems and data.

The Need For Federal Management In Cybersecurity

Given the sophistication and persistence of cyber threats, a centralized approach to cybersecurity led by the federal government is crucial. The federal government has the authority, resources, and capabilities to implement comprehensive and standardized cybersecurity measures across different sectors. By managing cybersecurity at the top national security level, the government can ensure a coordinated and unified response to cyber threats, thereby increasing the nation’s overall cyber resilience.

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Cyber Threats And Their Impact On Government Agencies

Impact Of Cyberattacks On Government Operations

Cyberattacks pose a significant threat to government operations. They can disrupt essential services, compromise sensitive data, and undermine public confidence in government institutions. In fact, President Biden’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity (EO 14028) highlights the persistent and sophisticated malicious cyber campaigns that threaten both the public and private sectors, as well as infrastructure security agency act as the American people’s security and privacy.

These cyber threats require the government to shift rapidly to a new cybersecurity paradigm and dramatically reduce the risk of successful cyber attacks against our digital infrastructure. Therefore, managing cybersecurity is not just about the national security agency preventing cyber threats but also about enhancing the security of the American people by safeguarding federal systems.

The 2021 Global Cybersecurity Index, published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), noted that many countries still have gaps in their cybersecurity readiness, with average global cybersecurity maturity remaining at only 45%.

Implementing Defenses Against Cyberattacks

As part of its effort to enhance cybersecurity, the federal government develops cybersecurity metrics known as Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) metrics. These metrics, developed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and CISA, are used to oversee federal agencies’ information security policies and practices. They set a maturity baseline for cybersecurity, enabling more informed, risk-based decisions and achieving observable security outcomes.

Furthermore, the federal government is promoting the adoption of Zero Trust Architecture and securing cloud services to strengthen its cybersecurity defenses. These modernization goals demand investment in both technology and personnel, reflecting the government’s commitment to bolster cybersecurity and improve the defense, homeland security and resilience of the networks they manage on behalf of the American people.

According to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), there is a consensus that cybersecurity should be a joint effort between the federal government, private sector, and other stakeholders, given the interconnectedness of critical infrastructure.

Source- depositphotos.com

The Need For Partnerships In Cybersecurity

While federal management is crucial in managing cybersecurity risks, it is equally important to establish partnerships between the government and other stakeholders. Cybersecurity threats are not limited to government agencies alone, but also affect private organizations, critical infrastructure, and individuals. Therefore, collaboration between the government, private sector, academia, and international partners is essential to effectively address these threats.

The 2021 BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard highlighted the importance of governments creating regulations that encourage cybersecurity best practices without stifling innovation.

Partnerships can facilitate information sharing, joint threat intelligence analysis, and coordinated incident response efforts. Sharing information on emerging threats and vulnerabilities can help all parties involved in cybersecurity stay ahead of attackers and implement proactive measures to protect their networks. Collaboration also allows for the pooling of resources, expertise, and best practices, enabling a more comprehensive and robust defense against cyber threats.

Additionally, partnerships can foster innovation and promote the development of new technologies and solutions to combat cyber threats. By working together, the government and its partners can leverage their respective strengths and capabilities to create a more secure and resilient cyberspace.

Ultimately, cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and partnerships are essential to effectively address the evolving threat landscape. By collaborating with various stakeholders, the government can enhance its cybersecurity efforts and better protect the nation’s critical assets and infrastructure.

The Role Of The Private Sector In Cybersecurity

While the federal government plays a crucial role in managing cybersecurity, it cannot do it alone. Protecting our nation from malicious cyber actors requires the federal government’s ability to partner with the private sector. The private sector is essential in adapting to the continuously changing threat environment, ensuring its products are built and operate securely, and fostering a more secure cyberspace.

Cyber threats continue to evolve. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reported a 125% increase in ransomware incidents and a 46% increase in phishing attacks in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Building A More Secure Cyberspace: Government and Private Sector Collaboration

As outlined in the Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, ICT service providers entering into contracts with agencies must promptly report when they discover a cyber incident involving a software product or service provided to such agencies. These reports must also be directly reported to CISA, thereby enabling the federal government to centrally collect and manage such information. This approach facilitates a cooperative cybersecurity model where both the government and private industry sectors work together to enhance cybersecurity.

A survey by ISACA found that 56% of cybersecurity professionals believe that the government is ill-equipped to manage and respond to cyber threats effectively. Many respondents cited bureaucracy and lack of expertise as challenges.

Source- depositphotos.com

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the federal government plays an indispensable role in managing cybersecurity. Given the persistent and increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, it is crucial for the federal government must to take decisive steps to modernize its approach to cybersecurity, adopt security best practices, invest in technology and personnel, and foster collaborations with the private sector. While the challenges are significant, the federal government’s proactive and collaborative approach provides a robust foundation for securing our nation’s cyberspace now and in the future.

Last Updated on September 27, 2023 by Priyanshi Sharma

Author

  • Parina

    Parina Parmar is a full-time dog mom with a knack for content, editing & advertising. She has years of experience in the communication industry, and her dedication to maintaining the integrity of the author's voice while ensuring clarity and coherence in the text sets her apart in her field. She is dedicated to immersing her love for culture, music, and the advertising industry in her works.

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