48 Hours Later
It’s November 10th, 2016. We have a president-elect and, as far as we can tell, the election results weren’t modified by hackers. Despite the fact that the worst didn’t happen, there is still the haunting specter of what cyber tampering could have done.
At N2K, we teach our clients how to identify and evaluate their crown jewels; their company’s most critical assets. In the United States, our nation’s crown jewel is our electoral system. Yet we don’t properly protect the systems that operate at the local, county, and state levels in a way that is commensurate to the importance our democracy’s main apparatus.
Aside from a few last-minute precautions, we were saved by the decentralized and archaic structure of our voting systems. But this was not an intentional defense mechanism. This was not by design. Ironically, this was by negligence. And luck is not a long-term solution.
At N2K, we have a vision for a long term solution. It revolves around not technology, but people. People are the greatest asset at our nation’s disposal. Our mission is to create a cyber-ready workforce. A workforce that is prepared, knowledgeable, skillful, credentialed, and empowered. Training coupled with experience is the best way to create a workforce that has expertise to defend our most critical assets.
We can create a cyber-ready workforce by emphasizing security throughout all parts of an organization. This approach starts at the top. Board members and C-suite executives need the knowledge to exercise proper oversight regarding cybersecurity activities. We must also train security practitioners to think like security managers; ensuring technical and security prowess alongside managerial competence.
We are fortunate that security experts’ concerns didn’t materialize (this time). But we shouldn’t forget the nervous tension on the eve of election day produced by the prospect of a cyber incident. Indeed, we should capitalize on that anxiety. We should turn angst into action.
Now is a great opportunity to build a cyber-ready workforce. So, four years from now, all we’ll have to worry about is the politics.