Cybersecurity, Our Shared National Priority

October was National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a time to raise public awareness, discuss public policy and highlight programs to drive advancements in cybersecurity.  

On October 28th, I represented Dell at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Third Annual Cybersecurity Summit in Washington, DC.  The Summit was the culmination of The 2014 Cybersecurity Education & Framework Awareness Campaign, a series of events designed to educate, inform and inspire local organizations about the NIST Cybersecurity Framework which helps organizations of all sizes and missions assess and strengthen their state of security.  

"The framework is a healthy move toward a common discussion about cybersecurity where anyone, regardless of resources, can step onto a more level playing field," said Dell Chief Information Security Officer Alan Daines, who participated in a previous such event in July.

At the October Summit, I participated in the discussion “Cybersecurity Framework Gut Check – Are We Making Progress?” along with key government officials representing the Departments of Homeland Security, Treasury, and Commerce (pictured above).  Our conversation focused on advancements in developing, disseminating and utilizing the NIST Framework.

Dell is focused on helping our customers understand how software, hardware, and services map to the five main NIST Framework functions: Identify, Detect, Protect, Respond, and Recover. I was pleased to hear federal agencies express optimism in utilizing the NIST Framework. I was also heartened to hear the feedback from regulated sector entities.  While the Framework is a federal creation, it is just as applicable to a commercial organization as it is to government agencies.  We are making cybersecurity progress across many organizations using a common flexible and comprehensive framework to guide conversations and decisions.

“The issue is that cybersecurity is not really just a technical problem,” said White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel. “It’s far more than that because of what cyberspace has become to us. In fact, cyberscurity does have technical aspects to it, very strong technical aspects to it, but it’s more than that. It’s also an economics problem and a business problem.”

Daniel stressed the importance of our shared responsibility in the cybersecurity mission in order to achieve the best possible outcome. I agree with this approach (as did others on the panel) and look forward to collaboratively implementing proper mechanisms to help us achieve our shared objectives on cybersecurity. 

While National Cyber Security Awareness Month may have come to an end, Dell continues to champion best practices and solutions targeting cybersecurity goals. We are committed to engaging our customers using the NIST Framework.  We’ll continue to support this voluntary and evolving cybersecurity policy approach that identifies security goals and affords government and industry the flexibility to reach those goals, particularly through the use and application of Dell security solutions. We look forward to continued collaboration with our government, customers, industry partners and policy makers to strengthen the state of our nation’s cybersecurity.

About the Author: Paul Christman