The Biden-Harris Administration released their National Cybersecurity Strategy. The document communicates a high level summary of the US government's priorities and plans for the future in regards to cybersecurity.
It's an interesting read, but how does it affect you? How is it going to affect security practitioners, and security teams? That's what we'll be covering in this article.
The document is intended for consumption by the general public and is a high level overview. For this reason, the document is a bit light on information, so we need to make some educated guesses about the effects of the strategy on security teams - especially in the private sector.
Let's dive in!
Rebalancing Responsibility for Cybersecurity
The National Cybersecurity Strategy outlines that the responsibility to defend cyberspace will be shifted away from individuals, small businesses, and local governments, and onto the organizations that are most capable and best-positioned to reduce risks for all of us. Namely, large orgs and the federal government. This shift will likely require security teams from these organizations to collaborate more with other organizations, particularly those in critical infrastructure sectors, to ensure that they are meeting minimum cybersecurity requirements and are adequately protecting themselves against cyber threats. Security teams from larger orgs may need to take on a more proactive role in assessing the cybersecurity posture of these organizations and providing guidance and support where necessary. It's unclear exactly how this would take place at a practical level, but it sounds like a step in the right direction.
Realignment of Incentives
The strategy document also recognizes the need to strike a balance between defending ourselves against urgent threats today and investing in a cyber-resilient future. While this is quite an obvious point to anyone working in cyber security, it's nice to know that the government plans to invest in a cyber-resilient future. This hints that security teams need to think beyond the immediate threat landscape and invest in technologies and practices that will help to make our digital ecosystem more defensible on the whole, especially those working in critical infrastructure.
Five Pillars of Collaboration
The National Cybersecurity Strategy sets out "five pillars of collaboration". These pillars are:
Defending critical infrastructure
Disrupting and dismantling threat actors
Shaping market forces to drive security and resilience
Investing in a resilient future
Forging international partnerships to pursue shared goals
The key takeaway here is "collaboration". Security teams will need to work closely with other organizations and government agencies to support the implementation of these pillars.
Another interesting point is that the strategy explicitly calls out the disruption and dismantling of threat actors. Given that many of the largest tech companies reside in the US, it's likely that the private sector will play a significant role in this.
It's likely that security teams will be expected to develop new partnerships and collaborative relationships with other organizations, particularly those in critical infrastructure sectors, and to play a more active role in shaping market forces to drive security and resilience.
Resilient Future Investments
The National Cybersecurity Strategy recognizes the need to invest in a resilient future, including through the development of secure and resilient next-generation technologies and infrastructure. This will require security teams to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies and invest in research and development to ensure that they are able to defend against new and evolving cyber threats. Security teams will also need to develop a diverse and robust national cyber workforce to support these investments.
Finally, the National Cybersecurity Strategy emphasizes the importance of forging international partnerships to pursue shared goals. It's likely that security teams, especially in larger orgs, will need to work closely with their counterparts in other countries to share information and best practices and coordinate responses to cyber threats. This will require security teams to have a good understanding of the international threat landscape and to be able to adapt to new and changing threats as they emerge.
The National Cybersecurity Strategy doesn't really say anything new, but it is a necessary step to communicate the government's future plans. As always, security teams from all sectors will play a critical role in supporting the implementation of this strategy, working closely with other organizations and government agencies to ensure that our digital ecosystem is resilient. Let's help to ensure that we are better prepared to defend against the cyber threats of today and tomorrow.