A Few Thoughts from Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity, Mark Weatherford, Department of Homeland Security

On May 16, Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity, Mark Weatherford, spoke to the Advanced Cyber Security Center about DHS’s cyber security priorities: Information Sharing, R&D, and the Advanced Persistent Threat.

On Information Sharing:  This is a continuing challenge, in part because of the way the federal government shares information.  At present, the federal government provides cyber threat information to private sector organizations, but prohibits discussion between those very organizations. His Office at DHS is working to address this unintended siloing of information, so as to allow for greater cooperation and collaboration.

On Research and Development:  He views cyber security education and training as essential, particularly because there is a rapidly shrinking pipeline of qualified professionals. As the Baby Boomers retire, they need to be replaced.  Another speaker noted that hiring in cyber security is growing at 14% per year. While Undersecretary Weatherford did not propose any government solutions to increase degree programs and students in cyber security, you have to believe that they will be forthcoming.

On the Advanced Persistent Threat: The Undersecretary encouraged executive leadership to make cyber security as a priority, to raise awareness and create appropriate incentives.  With regard to prevention, he did not offer any sweeping solutions, but instead suggested focusing on “basic hygiene” steps that all businesses can undertake, to eliminate the low-hanging fruit and get the greatest return on their data security investment.

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