Networks, Metrics and Laws

By Brian Prince  |  Posted 2009-05-29 Print this article Print


The process has to begin, however, with the government focusing on the security of its networks-as well as private networks controlled by contractors providing services to government-separately from those in the private sector, said Paul Ferguson, an advanced threats researcher at Trend Micro. 

Government agency networks as well as contractors providing network services can be made to conform to defined levels of security metrics and can be subjected to regularly scheduled audits, he explained. 

"On the privately owned infrastructure front (think ISPs), a more 'open' and ongoing 'public-private' campaign, cross-pollination of technical skills, shared intelligence, etc., should be sought where the government actively engages in a dialogue with the appropriate stakeholders in an effort to actively encourage more elevated network security postures," Ferguson said. 

Calls for cyber-security partnerships between government and business have been an ongoing refrain of late, and the message was repeated in the White House review. 

"With the private sector owning upwards of 85 percent of our critical infrastructure, strengthening the government-industry partnership is essential to our nation's cyber-security," said Bob Dix, vice president of government affairs at Juniper Networks. 

In addition to cooperation, the review also calls for the government to examine laws addressing cyber-security, with the White House partnering with Congress to ensure that there are adequate laws. That should include reforming FISMA (the Federal Information Security Management Act) as well as enacting federal data breach legislation, said Tiffany Jones, director of Symantec government relations for North America. 

"As a corporation, we already have to comply with 47 state data breach and data security laws," Jones said. "However, there is no federal legislation that requires the same consistency for government agencies. We are asking Congress to pass a national data breach/security bill so that consumers and their data are protected, no matter where their data resides."


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