Point: The Right Cyber Regulation Can Work
Governmental attempts to create cyber security regulations have been a failure thus far, but that doesn't mean that doing nothing is the proper approach.
Businesses are more vulnerable than ever to cyber attacks. And it's clear that effective protection from cyberrisk takes more than individual effort. Attacks by hackers, nation-states and criminal organizations are growing in frequency and sophistication.
But as we can see from the ongoing controversy over the National Security Agency's data mining efforts, this is an issue that will provoke opposition, even as technology firms and businesses support the effort.
Nevertheless, federal cyber security legislation is necessary to provide a framework that deals with the realities of cyber crime and data breaches.
Enlightened regulation can help mitigate the risk and protect businesses, customers, owners and investors against the impact of catastrophic loss.
There must be public/private sector information sharing and collaboration that protects against cyberrisk without raising privacy fears and civil liberties issues.
Gathering and communicating data at the federal level on viruses, malware and botnets (programs that communicate with other programs to execute malicious software) would be welcomed by all Internet users, commercial and individual.
In addition, it is only the federal government that has the ability to coordinate with other countries to create harmonious cyber crime laws and to cooperate with other countries in cyber investigations.
Instead of trying to pass a massive bill that invades personal and business privacy and mandates specific cyber security practices, regulatory efforts should focus on creating incentives -- and offering assistance and guidance -- for companies to take the internal steps necessary to protect their organizations.
Such protective steps must work in conjunction with new and developing insurance policies that substantially reduce the financial risk of cyber attacks. Those policies also play a key role in compelling companies to increase their cyber security efforts.
There is no doubt that no matter what steps are taken, cyber criminals will continue to develop new methods of attack. Organizations will continue to be vulnerable to cyberrisk. Only government can create the overarching framework and global collaboration that can lead to better cyber security.
Anne Freedman is senior editor of Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at email@example.com.
September 15, 2013
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