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White House stresses need for cybersecurity

The White House’s official blog is a miscellany of all posts presidential, some providing worthwhile commentary on pertinent executive policies, while others—not so much. An entry about rebuilding strategies in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, for instance, is followed by an introduction to Sunny, the Obama’s friendly, new puppy. Sandwiched between links of the President addressing concerns in the housing market and a speech regarding the state of the American Dream is a video of his appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. You get the picture; it’s mostly worthwhile with just a dash of that political fluff.

Anyways, between musings on Portuguese Water Dogs and vacations in Martha’s Vineyard, White House blogger Michael Daniel found time to post “Incentives to Support Adoption of the Cybersecurity Framework.” In the blog, Daniel outlines eight ways to encourage businesses to voluntarily adapt cybersecurity policies. They include collaborating with the insurance industry to provide cybersecurity insurance, issuing grants to companies who participate in the program, limiting liability, and offering priority government services to participants. A full explanation of the suggested incentive program can be found here.

The post precedes news yesterday that the White House has appointed Phyllis Schneck, former McAfee CTO, to the position of deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity, in which she will oversee the country’s defense against cyber attacks. Schneck was named following the departure of Mark Weatherford, the latest to leave a department plagued by high-turnover from, as some have speculated, frustration with D.C. gridlock. With Schneck’s appointment, and Daniel’s blog, it appears the administration hopes to renew concentration on protecting against burgeoning digital threats.

And Nathan Ingraham agrees. Writing for the Verge, he states, “Cybersecurity in general has been a major talking point for the Obama administration this year—a number of attacks originating in China have been a major concern, and the US Department of Defense recently called cyber attacks the number one threat facing the country.”

This all makes for good blog material and PR, and what they are asserting is true—cyber attacks are a huge threat—we’re still talking about Washington D.C. here. Daniel’s post is nothing more than conjecture, recommendations that no one beyond whoever manages the White House’s digital outreach may support. It’s not proposed legislation. Furthermore, Schneck, although we’re all rooting for her, is a new appointment to a position plagued by ineffectuality. There’s no evidence that the White House is doing anything beyond acknowledging the problem.

Another POTUS once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” With that in mind, wouldn’t it make sense to invest in a strong Identity and Access Management (IAM) platform designed to protect sensitive information instead of hoping it’s not too late when Congress finally busts partisan gridlock and comes to the rescue?

I’m sure it will happen any day now.