Cyberdefense Plan Gets Mixed Reviews
Raises awareness, but critics say it lacks teeth
Computerworld - The White House's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, released last week in draft form, was applauded by some IT industry executives for its vision. But the ink was barely dry before critics charged that the plan lacks the authority necessary to accomplish real change.
"Anything that could have made a difference was removed at the last minute," said the president of a major security consulting firm who requested anonymity.
While the government got high marks for its effort to raise awareness of security issues and its willingness to take on a leadership role, some private-sector security experts were surprised by the lack of tough enforcement language in the document. In fact, a White House source acknowledged that major changes, such as the removal of "politically sensitive language," were made to the plan in the last 24 hours of preparation.
"What happened here?" asked Wyatt Starnes, CEO of Tripwire Inc., a Portland, Ore.-based global IT security company. "We thought we were going to get something concrete. They probably underestimated the politics."
For example, although the strategy calls on corporate CEOs to establish enterprise security councils to integrate cybersecurity, physical security and privacy into their daily operations, compliance remains voluntary.
Russ Cooper, a security consultant at TruSecure Corp. in Herndon, Va., said he's dissatisfied with the strategy in its current form. Specifically, Cooper said the administration has removed language that would have offered a definition of liability and an assignment of responsibility for Internet security. "It's time the government mandates some action be taken," said Cooper. "I'd like to see ISPs be told that it is illegal to carry identified Internet attack traffic. But I don't see anything similar or at that level in what they're proposing."
James Lewis, director of the Council on Technology and Public Policy at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, agreed that having cybersecurity dependent on voluntary compliance can't bring real change in the long run. "The report has many good ideas, but cybersecurity is too tough a problem for a solely voluntary approach to fix," he said. "Companies will only change their behavior when there are both market forces and legislation that cover security failures."
Despite the disappointment voiced by some, others said the strategy is a key development that demonstrates solid government leadership.
A Good Place to Start
"You have to look at this as a good starting point," said Scott Crenshaw, a vice president at NTRU Cryptosystems Inc., a security firm in Burlington, Mass. "For example, the section on assessment of current gaps and weaknesses in the private sector is particularly strong. If this document raises awareness of those issues, it will have served us well."
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Streamline Software Asset Management, Compose a software Management Symphony Keeping track of your organization's software is easy with effective software management solutions from CDW. View the videos in our software solutions channel
- Druva inSync: Endpoint Data Protection & Governance CLICK HERE to watch this video about protecting corporate data on laptops and mobile devices, sponsored by Druva. All Security White Papers | Webcasts