Cyber Strategy and Cyber Readiness – How Committed Is The US When It Comes to Cybersecurity?

Cyber Readiness of The U.S.

Cyber risks are growing, both in their prevalence and in their disruptive potential, as individuals, companies and government agencies become increasingly more dependent on technology.  New and more sophisticated threats continue to emerge with cybercriminals using artificial intelligence and machine learning to conduct attacks.  In addition, the explosive growth of the ‘internet of things’ is expanding the surface open to cyberattack as millions of new interconnected devices, most with little built-in security, come online. With prediction’s by Gartner Inc. that there will be some 20 billion internet connected devices in 2020 what is the cyber readiness of the U.S.?

Cybercrime knows no geographic boundaries – attacks are launched from all over the world and targets of attacks are not restricted based on location. Cybersecurity is a real concern for everybody and every organization. No-one is immune.

For businesses and governments, cybersecurity has become increasingly relevant when it comes to strategic decision making, governance and risk assessment. It is more than just a matter of securing IT networks – cybersecurity strategy and cyber-response readiness is critical for all organizations globally.

The rapidly shifting global risks landscape presents a challenging operating environment for businesses and governments. For governments, cybersecurity is a matter of national security. For individuals and businesses, IT security and cyberstrategy, or lack thereof, could mean the difference between financial success or devastation following a data leak or security breach. Attacks against businesses have almost doubled in five years, and the financial impact of cybersecurity breaches is rising.

Cyberattacks: The Third Largest Global Threat in 2018

Cyberattacks will constitute the third largest global threat this year according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in its 2018 Global Risks Report. Yet, while many governments consider digital risks to be high priority, it is clear that more effort is needed in this area. Globally, only around 38 per cent of countries have a published cybersecurity strategy according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in its 2017 Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI).

A growing trend of concern is the use of cyberattacks to target critical infrastructure and strategic industrial sectors, raising fears that, in a worst-case scenario, attackers could trigger a breakdown in the systems that keep societies functioning.

Global Commitment to Cybersecurity

There is a wide gap in cyber preparedness and commitment to cybersecurity around the globe. Out of 193 participating member states, the countries that made the top ten list for most committed to cybersecurity are listed below.

Top Ten Countries Most Committed To Cybersecurity

#1 Singapore
#2 United States
#3 Malaysia
#4 Oman
#5 Estonia
#6 Mauritius
#7 Australia
#8 Georgia
#9 France
#10 Canada

The below global heat map illustrates the commitment of countries around the world to cybersecurity. Green represents high commitment, Red represents low commitment.

(source: 2017 Global Cybersecurity Index)

The United States’ Commitment to Cybersecurity

The United States ranks high in terms of its commitment to cybersecurity, coming in second place as the country most committed to national cybersecurity. The US is among one of the minority 38 per cent of countries that have a published cybersecurity strategy, which is available on the US Department of Defense website.

Cybersecurity remains a key concern for the Federal Government, with the Administration focusing on IT modernization efforts and state-of-the-art cybersecurity
to protect federal networks and IT systems.  This commitment to cybersecurity is reflected in a proposed  allocation of $14.983 billion for cybersecurity-related activities in the U.S. Government Budget for fiscal year 2019. The priorities will be to reduce cyber-risk of the threat environment and to improve the  federal cybersecurity posture “with the goal of ensuring the security of the American people”.

Federal investment is critical given that following an assessment of the Federal Government’s overall cybersecurity risk, as ordered by the Administration’s Executive Order on Cybersecurity, “found the federal enterprise to be at risk.”

“Frankly, the United States is under attack — under attack by entities that are using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States.”

“From U.S. businesses, to the federal government, to state and local governments, the United States is threatened by cyberattacks every day.”

– Daniel Coats,The U.S., Director of National Intelligence, U.S. Department of Defense

The proposed increase in total cybersecurity funding to nearly $15 billion is up an estimated 4% from the fiscal year 2018 figure of $14.4 billion. The annual cyber security spending of the US Federal government is large and growing with the U.S. Federal cybersecurity market estimated to reach $22 Billion by 2022.

Is Your Business Committed to Cybersecurity?

How committed is your organization to cybersecurity?  Does your business have a cybersecurity strategy for your business? If your enterprise is like the majority of businesses and countries around the world without a cybersecurity strategy, you are leaving your organization exposed to cyber risk.

It’s not a matter of if, but when your organization will be the target of an attack. Now is the time to take cyber risk seriously – manage your cyber-risk today by putting in place a cybersecurity strategy and execution plan to strengthen your company’s security posture.  The only way to reduce cyber risk is to strengthen your company’s security posture through investing in superior technology solutions, educating your workforce and developing a cybersecurity strategy.

 

References and Resources

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

International organizations like the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)  work to collaborate, share knowledge and resources to combat the growing cybercrime landscape. The objective of the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) is to help countries identify areas for improvement in the field of cybersecurity, as well as to motivate them to take action to improve their ranking, thus helping raise the overall level of commitment to cybersecurity worldwide.

World Economic Forum (WEF)

US Department of Homeland Security

US Department of Homeland Security – Cybersecurity Division

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