The president gets serious about cybersecurity in State of the Union

January 21, 2015 Arctic Wolf Networks

Cybersecurity has been on everyone's minds recently, much more so than usual due to frequent cyberattacks aimed at high-profile targets. But if there were any people left who were unaware of the importance of cybersecurity in modern society, they know now that President Obama addressed it in his State of the Union speech this week.

During his annual address, the President discussed the need to improve our nation's cyber defenses in both the private and public sectors. He brought up the large scale attacks that have caused problems for major companies like Sony and Target and twice called for more to be done to protect the personal information of minors.

"No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids," the President said during his speech. "I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyberattacks, combat identity theft and protect our children's information."

In an effort to combat these types of attack, President Obama called for Congress to pass legislation that would make it easier for private companies to share information with the government and introduce new consequences for cybercriminals, as well as requiring businesses to notify affected consumers about a data breach within 30 days of the event.

Security experts approve of legislation, think more could be done 
Opinions from every side of the issue flooded the Internet after the president made his speech. While the cybersecurity industry is poised to make nearly $77 billion this year on cyberattacks according to Gartner estimates, the overall response from vendors was supportive of the proposed legislation. In an interview with Fortune contributor Michal Lev-Ram, general manager of IBM's security services division Kris Lovejoy said that the industry needs to be able to share information more freely to keep up with the collaboration and adaptation that is occurring among cybercriminals.

Former CIO of the FBI Chad Fulgham noted that, while the legislation is a good start, its primary focus is helping to mitigate the effects of an attack instead of preventing one from happening in the first place. Instead of retroactively defending networks, Fulgham suggests employing monitoring tools that provide real-time threat information as a more effective alternative.

"It's unfortunate that it took a string of high-profile breaches to put security front and center," said Fulgham in an interview with Fortune. "The truth is these attacks happen all the time and they will continue. While you cannot stop the attacks from happening, you can do something about it. You must be able to access to real-time data about what's happening in your organization, how information flows and where vulnerabilities exist."

As Fulgham pointed out, cyberattacks are now an inevitable part of doing business and enterprises have to start thinking in terms of when, not if. Improving monitoring and threat detection capabilities are reliable ways to increase network defense, and companies can access these services through the use of a security information and event management solution. Managed SIEM services offer organizations with the ability to identify and analyze anomalous network activity that may suggest a breach, providing actionable threat information that can be used to create a well-rounded defense strategy.

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