It is hard to open a browser, look at a newspaper, or watch or listen to a news show without the topic of cybersecurity coming up. In mid-June, Microsoft received a lot of attention from headlines about the company's warning of an elevated risk of cyberattacks. Another attention-grabbing headline came from Chris Childers, the CEO of the National Defense Group located in Germantown, Maryland, who shined light on the fact that many satellites in use today are dated and use old technology that was made before cyberthreats were a real issue and prior to when cyber defenses were readily available.
With all of the headlines about cyberattacks, viruses, ransomware attacks (WannaCry) and so on, you would think cybersecurity business is booming. Odds are it is not as robust as many people think. Let's not forget when the Department of Homeland Security said 20-plus states faced major hacking attempts during the 2016 presidential election.
With all the attention this subject is now receiving, one would think the business of national cybersecurity (commercial, government and defense) would be very robust.
Well, that depends who you talk to.
I spoke to a couple of small and medium-sized businesses, and they are not singing a happy, carefree tune. Delays in contracts, budget cuts and delayed payments seem to be the most common complaints. One of the critical infrastructure providers I talked with had their budget cut. Another player in cybersecurity sounded exhausted and asked how one can keep up with all that is happening.
Today, basic cybersecurity understanding and skills need to reach into every profession and every level of the workforce. Updating the skills of the workforce must be continuous, and this takes time and money.
Another interesting point was brought up during a recent cyber strategy thinking session: Could our adversaries be leveraging inexpensive cyberattacks and threats as economic warfare, knowing full well that we will move to identify, analyze and address the emerging threats — something that would cost us money? After all, what choice do we have?