From Federal Agencies to Small Businesses, the Focus is on Cyber Security & Protecting Data


Cyber security has been a top priority for agencies and businesses of all sizes for several years and is likely to continue to be a top priority as long as hackers and cybercriminals continue to change tactics and ramp up their capabilities. This month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is focusing on cyber security with its 13th Annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), presented in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Alliance.

Throughout the month, NCSAM will focus on educating the public and private sectors about threats to the connected world and will provide tools to help them safeguard and respond to cyber incidents. In this roundup of recent news, we will focus on cyber stories in honor of NCSAM. From the recent appointment of the Federal Chief Information Security Officer to the U.S. Air Force’s new cyber security campaign, tips for small businesses and advice from Cisco, the following cyber news caught our attention:

White House Appoints First Federal Chief Information Security Officer

As part of President Obama’s mandate that his Administration implement a Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP), the White House has named retired Brig. Gen. Greg Touhill as the first chief information security officer (CISO). Touhill has deep government experience and has served in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C) and in the National Cyber and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). His new position is seen by many as necessary for breaking down siloes in the federal government. As the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) stated in a letter to President Obama in March, the new federal CISO “has enormous potential to enhance our Nation’s cybersecurity [by enabling] cross-organizational coordination and collaboration.”

Read the announcement here.

Cyber Security is Quickly Becoming a Small Business Priority

Thousands of small business owners have shifted their view of online security as cyber threats increase across the world, are ramping up their security efforts and making the issue a higher priority. According to the Symantec 2016 Internet Security Threat Report, small businesses are a big target of cyber-attacks, growing from 18 percent of targets in 2011 to a startling 43 percent of targets in 2015. Luckily, many small businesses are proactively changing their cyber security strategies, from putting a greater emphasis on privacy and implementing disaster recovery plans to increasing employee training and restrictions, outsourcing security when necessary and migrating data to the cloud to increase security.

Read the article here.

Air Force cybersecurity campaign takes off

The Air Force recently announced a year-long Cyber Secure campaign to address cybersecurity throughout the service. In a memo to his troops, USAF CIO Lt. Gen. William Bender shared “In 2016 . . . we must position cyber at the forefront of our thinking, planning and operations to successfully support the five core missions” of the Air Force. The memo also cited the Internet of Things as increasing vulnerability. “. . . our devices, aircraft and systems are more vulnerable to exploitable attack vectors,” Bender wrote. “Every time you log onto a system, click on a link, download a file or plug one device into another, we risk exposing our systems to exploitation.”

Read the article here.

Cybersecurity Now and in the Future – Our Shared Responsibility

In his recent blog, Cisco Chief Trust Officer John N. Stewart encouraged readers to participate in NCSAM and “take continuous action to improve your online security.” He, like the USAF CIO, points to how interconnectedness creates the need for greater and more pervasive measures in cybersecurity and reminds his readers that online healthcare, e-Government, and collaboration are already commonplace, as are the digital devices that touch every area of our lives. “Today, connected devices are generating almost 300 times more data than all the people connected to the Internet. We connect 30 million new devices to the Internet every single week. That’s more than 4 million new devices per day! 2015 was the year that the Internet of Things (IoT) took off – the tipping point when IoT went from backrooms of the technology world to mainstream. The Internet of Things is not of the future… it’s here and now.”

Read the entire post here.



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