Posted at 3:56 PM
Strong cybersecurity starts at the top.
When the CEO or the president of a company truly understands how critical cybersecurity is to their organization’s reputation and bottom line, the whole organization gets it. And it takes the whole organization working in concert to give a company, government agency, or non-profit a fighting chance to fend off today’s array of cyber threats.
That’s why it was an honor today to share the stage with a dedicated group of private industry and government leaders who truly get cybersecurity. The occasion was the dedication of a new national laboratory facility created to support the nation’s digital economy through advanced cybersecurity.
The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) in Rockville, Md., is a public-private partnership launched by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2013.
After more than two years working in cramped temporary quarters, NCCoE’s new facility in Rockville, Md., provides them with five times the laboratory space previously available for collaborative advanced information technology projects.
We’re grateful to our partners, the state of Maryland and Montgomery County, Md., for co-funding with NIST the renovation of the facility to the Center’s specific needs.
To mark the completion of construction, we invited some of the nation’s top government, academic, and industry thought leaders in cybersecurity to a ribbon-cutting celebration and symposium.
Senior Senator from Maryland Barbara Mikulski earned the right to cut the blue ribbon (printed with IT-appropriate 1s and 0s) while an equally blue ribbon group of NCCoE supporters cheered her on.
Senator Mikulski has made cybersecurity a hallmark cause. As she told the almost 200 IT and other leaders attending the event:
I fought to put funds in the federal checkbook for this center, and I’m proud to stand here at this opening. NCCoE brings the best of government experts together with world-class IT companies to make America more secure and create new jobs.”
Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker strongly agreed, saying that economic security through strong cybersecurity “is national security,” and “companies and their boardrooms are our country’s front lines.”
I’m proud of how much the Center has accomplished in helping to fortify those lines in such a short time. Twenty-two formal industry partners have pledged to provide hardware, software, and/or expertise, and several of these (Intel, HP, Hytrust, RSA, Symantec, Splunk) have just renewed those commitments.
And with its announcement today, the New York Power Authority became the first utility to publicly pledge to adopt a new NCCoE-developed cybersecurity guide for identity and access management.
NIST has been in the cybersecurity business in a big way for decades. But the NCCoE now adds a key missing element. It’s a single collaborative space where government and industry can brainstorm and assemble off-the-shelf commercial products into practical solutions for today’s toughest cybersecurity issues.
Building-block solutions for a wide array of IT fields are already under way in access control, data integrity, smart card credentials, secured email, mobile device security, privacy-enhanced identity brokers, software management, and trusted geolocation.
What we need urgently now are fresh examples, many more collaborators and use cases in key industry sectors—retail, automotive, health care, energy, financial services, transportation.
- Have a great idea for cybersecurity building blocks? We want to hear from you.
- Work at an IT security company and want to participate in the process of assembling our next practice guide? We want to hear from you.
- Want to implement an NCCoE practical solution and provide us with feedback? (Yes, you guessed it.) We want to hear from you!
As Secretary Pritzker noted at our dedication today, we’re standing in front of two clear paths. We can stay in our silos and watch the hackers continue to threaten our national and economic security, or we can band together with transparent, well-coordinated, and energetic public-private cooperation.
This same approach applies within organizations. Cybersecurity is too important to be left to experts only.
CEOs, company presidents, chancellors, business owners, and other leaders: You play a central role in moving your organizations to the strongest possible cybersecurity. The NCCoE can help you get there.