U.S. Government Cybersecurity Budget and Anthem Breach Show Need for Stronger Security



Overshadowed by last week’s news about the data breach at health insurer Anthem Inc. was the Obama administration’s release of its 2016 budget proposal, which earmarked $14 billion for cybersecurity and other key security areas related to “maintaining technological superiority.”

Read our new Chief Security Officer David Kleidermacher’s blog to learn more about Anthem, or read on to learn more about Obama’s proposal. But together these news beg the question: How is your enterprise ensuring it is protected against Anthem-type breaches?

Clear and Present Danger

As Obama’s budget states: “Cyber threats targeting the private sector, critical infrastructure, and the Federal Government demonstrate that no sector, network, or system is immune to infiltration [and] addressing these threats requires a comprehensive approach.”

BlackBerry CEO John Chen spoke to this recently in an op-ed written for The Hill. He wrote that with cyberattacks on the rise, “no organization or government entity can assume that their employees’ personal and business data are protected.”

“From Target to JPMorgan to Healthcare.gov, breaches are happening all around us,” Chen wrote, and “they are escalating in both prevalence and sophistication, and experts agree that there is no end in sight.”

The budget targets the need to “respond to cyber threats and incidents once they have occurred . . . and maintain efforts to increase the Nation’s cyber workforce” with the protection of the government’s information and information systems “critical to protecting national infrastructure.”

Importantly, the budget “funds key investments to enhance the Federal Government’s cybersecurity posture . . . These resources will allow the Government to more rapidly protect American citizens, systems, and information from cyber threats.”

As ComputerWorld pointed out in a related article by Patrick Thibodeau, the US government aims to increase its cybersecurity spending by 10%, with the money allocated to improve technology and fund investigations.

“The increase in security spending is helping to bring overall IT spending in the proposed 2016 budget to $86 billion, an increase of about 2%,” Thibodeau wrote.

Which way is your organization’s cybersecurity investment headed – up or down?

Leading the Industry

Mobile devices are a potential entry point for hackers and their malware. If you’re considering solutions to plug your mobile security gaps, our cross-platform solution is well-positioned to help deliver those security gains and satisfy the needs of both enterprises and government agencies. BES12 supports iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices and provides the confidentiality, integrity and authenticity to help protect your organization from data loss and theft.

Furthermore, as the leading EMM provider, BlackBerry counts all G7 governments and 16 of the G20 governments among its customers.

For even more proven security, consider devices running the BlackBerry 10 platform, which is the first to obtain a coveted approval from the U.S. Defence Information Systems Agency (DISA) for Full Operational Capability on U.S. Department of Defense networks.

For the United States, having BlackBerry as part of its cybersecurity arsenal just makes sense. President Obama’s personal phone is a BlackBerry, cleared by the NSA for his use, and other world leaders look to BlackBerry phones for the world’s best mobile security as well, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Nextgov also pointed to BBM Enterprise’s (formerly known as BBM Protected) secure messaging as a feature primed for government use, which was echoed by another piece by Tech Times’s Robin Parrish, who wrote, “BBM Enterprise offers high-level security by utilizing the FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic library, the same security standard used by the U.S. government to accredit cryptographic modules . . . BBM Enterprise should hold strong appeal for government workers, law firms, and other environments where secrecy is essential. It’s no coincidence that those agencies and businesses are BlackBerry’s most faithful customers.”

Meanwhile, FedScoop recently evaluated the BlackBerry Passport and declared: “BlackBerry Passport’s security, functionality features could appeal to feds . . . [F]or government usage, this might be the right balance of security and functionality. It’s conceivable that quite a few agencies could standardize on the Passport and the secure BlackBerry 10.3 operating system, helping employees reap the productivity rewards that a mobile workforce can offer — but without the vulnerabilities that doing so normally entails.

A Committed Partner

“As a committed partner to the U.S. government, BlackBerry looks forward to meeting the future needs of government mobility and security,” Chen wrote in The Hill. “It is imperative that the federal government formalize policies to encourage smarter, more secure mobility before it is too late.  While there are many unresolved challenges that lie ahead, government users can immediately protect themselves by choosing solutions with secure endpoints, and we are here to help.”

Still, Chen had a word of warning, in light of the changing landscape and magnitude of cyberattacks.

“Unless technology decision makers within the U.S. government implement stricter security standards and take proactive and strategic steps to protect sensitive information, we are facing a potential security crisis. These leaders must ensure that all mobile solutions and devices are certified and meet stringent security standards before they are permitted to access the government’s networks.”

If the U.S. Government holds true to the objectives laid out in the 2016 Budget Proposal, the United States will chart a course of credible, actionable security capable of fending off impending threats in a brave new world.

About Matt Young

Matt Young is a writer and editor with experience in tech, music, news and entertainment. A current Performance Evangelist for Radware, Matt has previous experience with BlackBerry, and Avaya. He has a degree in Journalism from San Jose State University. Follow Matt on Twitter @techunraveler.

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