When the top security minds from the federal government and the private sector meet in Silicon Valley Wednesday, there will be no shortage of conversation topics, given the current state of security in the United States and the upheaval and lack of direction that has characterized the governments security ranks of late.
But the elephant in the room certainly will be the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. The government released the plan nearly a year ago and, for a variety of reasons, there has been very little done to implement the dozens of recommendations and suggestions in the document. And the main inspiration behind the National Cybersecurity Summit this week is to get past the stumbling blocks and come up with concrete steps that both the government and industry can take to put the elements of the strategy into action.
The summit also will be a kind of coming-out party for Amit Yoran, the director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security. Yoran joined DHS in October after a long, slow search in which some of the top names in the security industry declined to take the job. Yoran has long experience in the security industry, most recently at Symantec Corp., which observers say should stand him in good stead in his dealings with industry executives.
Despite the optimism around Yorans hiring, few people expect there to be much accomplished at this weeks meetings.
"Weve been having summits for 15 years, and a lot of what needs to be done has been known for 15 years," said Mark Rasch, vice president and chief security counsel at Omaha-based Solutionary Inc. "What we need is better technology and better cooperation and some form of real information sharing. Its a good thing when you get people thinking, but theyll talk about the problems and the solutions and then everyone will go back to their jobs. Were all busy doing other things."