Mandated cybersecurity upgrades on the way for U.S. government
Cybersecurity is a growing concern across the country – with more of citizens' personal data and the nation's security information available online, they are more vulnerable to hackers and data breaches. The federal government is working to find ways to combat those risks, and many agencies may find that they need help adapting to some upcoming changes.
According to USA Today, the Obama administration authorized two executive orders on Feb. 9 that will require security upgrades to government technology systems. With an increased budget allotted and new security groups formed, the federal government hopes these new orders will bolster confidence in the country's ability to protect its cyber assets.
Strengthening America's security systems
The new executive orders are for the creation of two new security agencies – the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity and the Federal Privacy Council.
The CENC will be a specialized security group of up to 12 non-government employees. Their job will be to come together to find the best technical solutions for government agencies to implement for increased security. A big focus of the new plans will be on modernizing all the equipment and programs that the government's information technology services currently rely on. The group will also work to strengthen cybersecurity efforts and communications between the federal, state and local government levels to ensure that all agencies and entities are properly protected.
The FPC will be a group dedicated to protecting sensitive information that U.S. citizens supply to the government. Director of the Office of Management and Budget has 120 days from the issuance of the executive order to revise security policies for these privacy officials. Senior members of the 15 executive departments that make up the president's Cabinet will be appointed to the group to ensure that new policies will be effective across a range of U.S. services.
New upgrades required across agencies
Along with signing two new executive orders, the president also released a proposed $19 billion budget for 2017 to cover cybersecurity initiatives and essential equipment upgrades.
"If you've got broken, old systems – computers, mainframes, software that doesn't work anymore – then you can keep on putting a bunch of patches on it, but it's not going to make it safe," President Obama told reporters, according to USA Today. "If we're going to really secure those in a serious way, then we need to upgrade them."
The White House has stated that these new updates will work to better equip Americans to handle their own identity security, as well as allowing the government to better protect federal benefits and services.
Helping agencies adapt new securities
These changes could mean great things for improving cybersecurity efforts all over the country, especially for government IT groups that deal heavily with sensitive information. However, with upgrades across the board, there could be many sudden changes that take time for organizations to properly adapt to. Converting to new data management systems can take time to learn, which can slow down other essential parts of the job at times when it could be detrimental to do so.
By utilizing outside resources who can dedicate the time to upgrading, implementing and quickly training staff on new security upgrades, government groups can secure their information more quickly without disrupting their usual work flows. New federal action groups could also spell new regulations and procedures, and it would greatly benefit busy government groups to have the helping hands of industry experts to navigate what these changes will mean for them.