The passing of the recent COVID-19 relief Bill earlier this month includes funding that will be set aside to address cybersecurity concerns and a rise in the issues that have increased as a result of the pandemic. As we often say when the topic can become divisive or political, regardless of which side you stand on, this is a good thing for everyone. A focus on cybersecurity and guarding individual privacy and rights is necessary, but when it comes to doing the same for government data, it is imperative to the collective good of our country.
Two things can happen when something becomes commonplace like the words “data breach”. The good thing is that awareness increases, the not-so-good thing is with that rise in awareness comes a tendency to dismiss how critical it is to react quickly when it happens. We don’t want to get to the point where we’ll “get to it when we can” with a compromise on our data of any kind. When the government puts an emphasis on something, we can expect – or hope, that it rises in importance in our own minds and becomes more a part of the conversation with emphasis on how critical it is to take it seriously.
At the time of writing this, the funding was set to include nearly $2 billion. Half of that would be for the General Service Administration’s Technology Modernization Fund, which will help the federal government to launch new information and cyber technology programs. $650 million of it will help the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to increase its risk mitigation services, along with $200 million for the U.S. Digital Service. The U.S. Digital Service was created to pair top technologists into “tours of civic service” along with civil servants to build better tools for the American citizen.
This funding and the importance of addressing cybersecurity at the government level comes after the attack last year that is now referred to as the SolarWinds hack, which was one of the largest in U.S. history. The cyberespionage incident was “likely” from Russian hackers and compromised 100 private sector companies and at least nine federal agencies.
With breaches and hacks of such a large magnitude happening and directly impacting our government, it is not surprising that there will be funding allocated to address this threat with not only this package, but also with any future directives. Allowing us all to breathe a sigh of cyber relief – for now.