Why We Need A National Cybersecurity Advisor




Cybersecurity1 On Thursday the San Jose Mercury News published an opinion article that I wrote "Private sector must be partners in national cybersecurity".  I wrote this article to bring attention to the upcoming Senate debate on the newly introduced bill calling for the establishment of an  Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor.  For a copy of the draft bill,Download CybAdvisr1.  Introduced by Senators Rockefeller and Snowe, the bill creates a major opportunity for collaboration between the public and private sectors in an area that is critical to our nation's national and economic security.

An excerpt from the article: 

"Criminals attacking our nation in cyberspace do not discriminate between the government and private industry. The need for collaborative information sharing and unified threat protection shouldn't either. As the public debate develops on this Senate bill, there will be many who reject the notion of what the media is dubbing as a "cyberczar." Instead, thought leaders from both the public and private sectors should revisit the fundamental notion of how we should go about defining successful approaches to joint problem solving.

Equally important, a new protocol for confidential information sharing must be established as soon as possible, and this information could be disseminated through a round-table of top-level corporate Internet security experts, venture capitalists who are experts in new security technologies and methods, and government representatives from the Defense, Commerce and Homeland Security communities.

Because it is a matter of national and economic security, establishing an office for a national cybersecurity adviser who reports to the president will bring unanticipated benefits. America is already late to realize that we must embrace a new and integrated collaboration between the public and private sectors to truly promote innovation. To ignore this reality in cybersecurity will only make it more difficult for our country to effectively protect itself from attack. Let's not wait for a cyberattack equivalent to 9/11 to completely break our technology backbone before we are ready to fix it."

There is abundant
evidence that the U.S. Government is most comfortable being purely reactive to
crisis and suffers from a prioritization problem based on where the current
fires are burning—our leaders typically are not driven to anticipate the next set
of forest fires that are currently below the public radar.
  In cybersecurity, the government’s
historic approach to public-private partnerships has been that the private
sector informs the government what they are experiencing, and the government shares
little outside of mandating broad certification frameworks for government
business in return.
  This
historical information asymmetry must be eliminated—it is totally
counterproductive and prevents huge benefits from information sharing and
establishing best practices.

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