Why Cybersecurity Partnerships Matter

Even though the federal government continues to coordinate with the private sector on IT infrastructure protection, the progress made can't keep pace with fast-spreading worms and hidden malware. This gap in protection leaves computer networks for both government and private businesses more vulnerable than ever.

A recent InformationWeek's article by Erik Bataller asks what businesses and Uncle Sam can do, together, to reverse the dangerous trend. According to the report, there must be three areas of immediate focus:

1. Sharing of more information between the public and private sectors.

2. Paying more attention to defending against attacks that threaten critical IT infrastructure.

3. Bringing their collaboration to the next level — real-time identification and response.

While the government drives many of these cybersecurity partnerships — through such initiatives as Homeland Security's 2009 National Infrastructure Protection Plan — private companies benefit from the "more resilient" cyber defenses that result from such collaboration.

According to the article, the feds have defined 18 infrastructure areas considered essential to national interests, including agriculture, banking, chemical, and defense industries, and government facilities. The goal: protect computer systems and networks that serve those sectors from increasingly sophisticated threats.

"Industry-specific initiatives are evolving into something more substantial," Bataller reported. "The Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council, whose members include Bank of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Visa, coordinates the protection of IT and other infrastructure operated by banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions. The council does that work in collaboration with the departments of Homeland Security and Treasury, and in December it took things a step further via a memorandum of understanding with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commerce Department, and Homeland Security that paves the way for financial firms and government agencies to work together on the development of cybersecurity technologies and test beds."

For more information about cybersecurity partnerships, read the full article:http://www.informationweek.com/news/government/security/showArticle.jhtml?