Trade Groups Launch Security Assessment Tools

New semi-annual survey and evaluation for enterprise CEOs are part of an effort to jumpstart action on national cyber-security, but some say it's not enough.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Leading technology industry groups used the National Cyber Security Summit being held here to introduce Wednesday new tools for assessing information while deflecting criticism that industry initiatives so far have failed to fortify cyberspace.

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The Information Technology Association of America announced plans for a national security readiness survey of enterprises to be conducted in conjunction with the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. The results of the semi-annual assessment will help measure the nations state of information security and pinpoint areas needed for improvement, said the trade groups president, Harris Miller.

Meanwhile, TechNet, a group representing tech company CEOs and senior executives, unveiled its Corporate Information Security Evaluation. The evaluation, previewed on Wednesday and set for a final release in January, is a series of about 80 questions for CEOs to help them determine the security preparedness of their businesses.

"Whether CEOs know it or not, they have a strong fiduciary responsibility around information security," said Art Coviello, president and CEO of RSA Security, during a press conference at the security summit.

Both efforts come as the industry and Department of Homeland Security try to jumpstart action on the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, an administration plan released almost a year ago. After the resignation of the White House cyber-security czar in January, the Homeland Security Department in June formed the National Cyber Security Division. Its director, Amit Yoran, didnt come on board until October.

The IT industry has been loathe to accept any legislation or government regulations that require reporting of security breaches or the use of security technology or methods, and the administration has largely agreed with it. Reporting of security breaches has remained voluntary.

Pressed on why the industry wouldnt accept reporting requirements, ITAAs Miller said that businesses already are heavily focused on information security and pointed to the new survey and CEO tools as the beginning of broader steps that the industry will be taking.

Next page: Security experts are skeptical about surveys.