As the federal space becomes increasingly data-driven and dependent on IT infrastructure, the lines between cybersecurity and national security blur. Federal cybersecurity vulnerabilities directly impact the mission of agencies like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and their effects ripple into everyday society.
A strong example of this would be the attacks on the Colonial Pipeline earlier this year. The impact of an infrastructure attack has immediate ramifications and swift action is being taken by federal agencies to learn from such an attack. But they can’t do it alone. Federal agencies are working closely with the private sector to build a hardened approach to cybersecurity that implements the right technologies to do so.
“Public-private partnerships are critical to the security of every community across our country and DHS will continue working closely with our private sector partners to support their operations and increase their cybersecurity resilience,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas about a recent TSA security directive in the wake of the critical pipeline hacks earlier this year.
One important way federal agencies are leaning on the private sector to bolster their cybersecurity approaches is through team integration and evoking cultural shifts around cybersecurity perception. Craig Heartwell, Presidio Federal CTO, recently spoke at GovernmentCIO’s national security event and expanded on the components it takes to build a solid federal cybersecurity team.
“A strong cybersecurity team is a fully capable, multi-functional, diverse team with broad skills including development, analytical and people skills (or ‘soft’ skills),” he explained. “A cybersecurity team is a full-time, dedicated, independent entity. It is important to recognize that a cybersecurity team is a separate, focused entity populated with full-time, dedicated resources; cybersecurity is not a role you add to someone’s existing workload.”
According to Heartwell, the introduction of a dedicated cybersecurity team into an agency is a crucial step towards maturity and cannot be treated as tertiary or an afterthought. Thoughtful, strategic partnership with the private sector, which tends to be more readily equipped to handle such challenges, presents an opportunity for federal agencies to think critically about their cybersecurity approach.
You can watch some of Heartwell’s discussion in the clip below:
Watch the full conversation with Heartwell on GovernmentCIO, here. To learn more about how Presidio Federal works with industry leaders like Dell Technologies to jumpstart federal cybersecurity team integrations click here.