The U.S. Government's digital infrastructure received a major boost on Thursday after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to improve cyber-security practices.
The move is aimed to improve the government's cyber-security infrastructure and to prevent theft of sensitive data by state-sponsored and malafide hacker groups.
The executive order was hanging in balance ever since Trump took over the administration, thus endangering national security as well as posing an immense threat on the United States economy. Among other things, the executive order now aims to address budgetary needs for cyber-security, build and maintain a modern, secure, and more resilient executive branch IT architecture, prefer procurement for shared IT services and 'examine the sufficiency of existing Federal policies and practices to promote appropriate market transparency of cybersecurity risk management practices.'
All the heads of Federal agencies have also been directed to access the nature of cyber-threats and explore strategic options for deterring such adversaries. They have been directed to follow a framework developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and present a roadmap to the President within 90 days of the passage of the executive order.
Addressing cyber-threats and improving cyber-security defences of federal agencies was one of issues which Trump campaigned for extensively. While he was initially expected to sign the executive order within days after assuming office, the move was delayed in order to accommodate more input from federal agencies and experts.
"There is already early evidence of this, as security - including cyber security - was one of the three top issues in the Trump campaign and now the first cabinet-level appointees were in the security arena further supporting this," said Katie Lewin, federal director at the Cloud Security Alliance.
"Trump also campaigned on improvements to infrastructure. This includes technical and network infrastructure. A key element of technical infrastructure improvements will be enhanced security. The Trump administration is committed to establishing a Cyber Review Committee composed of military, defence and commercial experts to provide recommendations for safeguarding our cyber profile with technologies tailored to likely threats," she added.
"The Order on strengthening governments cybersecurity defences should bring some focus to our efforts to protect our critical infrastructure. However, there needs to be less focus on the cybersecurity incidents of the past. To keep government agencies and businesses safe, the government orders and initiatives like this one need to be expanded to include threats that have the potential to impact us in the future," said Kevin Bocek, Chief Cyber-Security Strategist at Venafi.
"Cyber criminals are beginning to target cloud services, IoT devices and the wide range of new device types and applications businesses around the world employ. Government-led cyber security initiatives must encompass these changes or we will remain vulnerable. One of the most important aspects of effective cyber security protection is the preservation of strong encryption -- this is critically important to keeping countries and businesses competitive in the global economy, ensuring safe digital commerce and preserving liberty,” he added.