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The State of Cybersecurity

This October is the seventh annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. So it seems fitting to note, in the manner of a State of the Union Address, that the overall state of our cybersecurity is quite good: The threat level is most assuredly high, but industry and government have struck appropriately vigilant postures and are doing commendable jobs of mitigating it.

Private-sector security providers — including several BSA member companies — are offering frequently improved products to help large and small enterprises and end users protect themselves from cyber threats. The Obama administration is vigorously pursuing the policy agenda it outlined in its path-breaking May 2009 Cyberspace Policy Review. DHS is conducting regular preparedness drills with public, private and international partners. And there is an emerging consensus about many of the key elements of what would constitute a global cybersecurity framework, which is critical, since cybersecurity is by its nature a global issue.

Here at BSA TechPost, we intend to mark National Cybersecurity Awareness Month with a series of posts that will delve a bit deeper into several important cybersecurity issues, including:

  • Identity and authentication. For people to lead safe and secure lives in cyberspace there must be reliable ways for them to maintain control of their identities. New technological innovations will be critical in this regard — as will the administration’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.
  • Cloud computing. Software as a service accounts for just 5 percent of all software sales last year, but it is growing five times faster than the rest of the market. Privacy and security should be among the guiding principles in its continued growth.
  • Innovation and cybersecurity.  The two are tightly intertwined. As hackers constantly adapt their tactics to take aim at new targets, it is critical to design new defenses against them..
  • Legislative solutions. There are a number of concrete steps Congress can take to bolster cybersecurity. But overly prescriptive measures could inadvertently stifle innovation.

In addition to posts on those topics, we will also be providing a thorough update of our Cyberspace Policy Review Dashboard, which tracks key developments in the cybersecurity arena against the policy agenda that the administration announced in its policy review.

Stay tuned.

Robert Holleyman

Author:

As President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance from 1990 until April 2013, Robert Holleyman long served as the chief advocate for the global software industry. Before leaving BSA to start his own venture, Cloud4Growth, Holleyman led the most successful anti-piracy program in the history of any industry, driving down software piracy rates in markets around the world.

Named one of the 50 most influential people in the intellectual property world, he was instrumental in putting into place the global policy framework that today protects software under copyright law. A widely respected champion for open markets, Holleyman also was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, the principal advisory committee for the US government on trade matters.

Holleyman was a leader in industry efforts to establish the legal framework necessary for cloud-computing technologies to flourish. He was an early proponent for policies that promote deployment of security technologies to build public trust and confidence in cyberspace. And he created a highly regarded series of forums for industry executives and policymakers to exchange points of view and forge agreements on the best ways to spur technology advances and promote economic growth.

Before heading BSA, Holleyman was a counselor and legislative adviser in the United States Senate, an attorney in private practice, and a judicial clerk in US District Court. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, a J.D. from Louisiana State University, and has completed the Stanford Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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