Cybersecurity Executive Order a Step in the Right Direction

The recent executive order on cybersecurity gives me hope of greater government and private sector collaboration to keep America’s cyber infrastructure safe.

The executive order states, “It is the policy of the United States Government to increase the volume, timeliness, and quality of cyber threat information shared with U.S. private sector entities so that these entities may better protect and defend themselves against cyber threats.”

This information sharing is critical to securing our cyber future. The government has the intelligence ability to alert private businesses about the cyber threats, both imminent and existential, they face.

Businesses that have been breached need to alert the government and work collaboratively to investigate the origins of the hack. Without sharing this information, the government cannot act diplomatically or with force to prevent other such attacks.

Critics of public/private collaboration have said that it may leave the US government more vulnerable to attacks. Private enterprises have been hacked in the past and there is concern that collaboration would open a back door to hacking the government.

To effectively share information, new avenues of communication will have to be established between government and industry, possibly opening new avenues for hackers exploit. While this is a possibility, the government is already exposed to hacks through similar communications mediums. If collaboration opened any new threats, they would be miniscule compared to the benefit gained from collaboration.

From the Transcontinental Railroad to the creation of the Internet, many of America’s greatest accomplishments have been public/private collaborations. We need another such effort to ensure our cybersecurity future.