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Cybersecurity Director Calls Industry to Action

February 25, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

His contribution to peace in both the real and virtual worlds was inspired on September 11, 2001, as he watched the Twin Towers collapse: "It's a small world; it's a fragile world; and no one is safe until everyone is safe. You're called to serve the peace." Those are the words that Rod Beckstrom, director, National Cyber Security Center, DHS, heard in his head.

To this end, Beckstrom is focusing on securing cyberspace, a place individuals, governments, militaries and businesses have come to rely on so heavily that losing a connection would cause chaos.

During his plenary address to the Homeland Security conference crowd, Beckstrom didn't pull any punches about how dangerous cyberspace has become. However, he also offered some ideas about what organizations that rely on the Internet should be thinking about to solve the problems adversaries in cyberspace pose.

Awareness of an organization's network, assets and information is the first step. Mapping a network is one of the best ways to achieve this. Second, organizations must determine the end-state they are seeking for their networks' use. Is it for commerce? Intelligence? Warfighting? A process is required to make the path clear. Third, organizations must have a strategy for their systems and for securing their systems.

Companies and agencies also must determine the true value of their networks and the role cybersecurity plays in that value. Although a great deal of security is preferred, most organizations must find the balance to ensure their level of security is equivalent with their risk.

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