The increasing frequency and severity of cyber threats has become a significant concern for our nation’s security. During the Keynote Panel at the StateRAMP Symposium, panelists highlighted the current state of cyber threats and emphasized the need for effective solutions. This blog post explores the three key strategies our panelists presented as effective ways to enhance our nation’s cybersecurity and protect against malicious actors.
1. Foster Collaboration & Public-Private Partnerships
Panelists highlighted the importance of information sharing and professional intimacy between federal, state, and local governments. Sean Connelly, Senior Cybersecurity Architect and Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) Program Manager for the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency shared that collaborative efforts and effective communication channels are crucial to address the ever-evolving cyber threats. Building strong public-private partnerships allows the government to leverage the expertise and resources of the private sector, leading to more robust cybersecurity measures.
2. Embrace Zero-Trust Principles
Zero-trust principles offer a strategic approach to prevent data breaches and keep other cyber-attacks from being successful. By challenging the notion of trust, organizations can enhance their security posture. John Kindervag, founder of Zero Trust and Senior Vice President of Cybersecurity Strategy at ON2IT, challenged the audience to identify the most important components to their organization. For example, when Kindervag talked to hospital executives, they shared that elevators are the most crucial system in their network.
Kindervag’s example of prioritizing the protection of critical systems illustrates the importance of identifying and safeguarding vital components. Recognizing that the entire organization depends on a functional network underscores the need for a comprehensive zero-trust strategy.
3. Take Immediate Action
It is crucial to take immediate action rather than waiting for the perfect plan. Phil Stupak, Director of Federal Cybersecurity at the Office of the National Cyber Director in the Executive Office of the President, emphasized the importance of encouraging employees to do the right thing while cultivating a slightly higher risk tolerance. Stupak acknowledged that right now, cybersecurity professionals are so risk averse that they don’t want to try anything different. The fear of making mistakes should not hinder progress, and organizations should embrace experimentation and continuous improvement. Implementing incentive structures that empower individuals will contribute to a stronger cybersecurity posture.
Protecting our nation against cyber threats requires collaborative efforts, zero-trust principles, and immediate action. By fostering collaboration and public-private partnerships, we can leverage collective expertise and resources. Embracing zero-trust principles allows organizations to identify and protect critical systems, mitigating the risk of data breaches. Finally, taking immediate action and embracing experimentation contributes to continuous improvement and resilience in the face of evolving threats. With these strategies, we can enhance our nation’s cybersecurity and protect our critical infrastructure, intellectual property, and national security. Indiana Congressman Jim Banks encouraged attendees to make a difference by sharing their ideas with their representatives in the capitol. As John Kindervag reminded the audience, “we are all cyber warriors!”