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Without question, cybersecurity is one of today’s most important and widely discussed IT issues. Countless companies have suffered major data breaches in recent years, affecting millions of Americans. There is a growing awareness that existing approaches to cyber safety simply aren’t sufficient for the increasingly sophisticated, dangerous digital environment.
This awareness is not limited to the private sector. The U.S. government has recently begun to take concrete steps to help companies protect themselves and one another from the growing threat posed by cyber attackers. While some of these actions are somewhat controversial, they collectively suggest that the demand for cybersecurity professionals will continue to accelerate in the coming years.
“The legislation makes it easier for companies to share vital information.”
The most significant example of this can be found in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House passed two bills recently which specifically address the issue of cybersecurity: the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act and the Protecting Cyber Networks Act. Together, these pieces of legislation are intended to make it easier for companies to share vital information with each other and with the government, which in turn should help organizations shore up their defenses and catch potential vulnerabilities before they are exploited by hackers.
Such an effort is certainly in the United States’ best interest. Large-scale data breaches can have a negative impact on the economy as a whole, and such incidents seem likely to become increasingly common in the near future if new measures aren’t enacted.
“At some point, we need to stop just hearing about cyber attacks that steal our most valuable trade secrets and our most private information, and actually do something to stop them,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., one of the bill’s supporters, U.S. News & World Report noted.
While these bills passed with bipartisan support, they are collectively fairly controversial. Privacy advocates expressed concerns that the legislation would provide organizations with too much access to Americans’ personal data. The bills now head to the Senate, where their ultimate fate remains unknown.
It is important to note that this legislation follows a number of similar efforts to improve information-sharing among American organizations for cybersecurity purposes. This indicates that regardless of the outcome of this particular legislation, it is very likely that new policies are forthcoming soon.
Around the same time, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter traveled to Silicon Valley to generate support for federal cybersecurity efforts, The New York Times reported. Carter, speaking at Stanford University, specifically hoped to encourage up-and-coming software professionals and entrepreneurs to consider bring their skills and knowledge to cybersecurity positions at the Pentagon.
Carter’s visit and speech clearly indicated that the federal government is looking to hire more cybersecurity experts, and the congressional legislation is further evidence of both the private and public sector’s need to increase investment in this area. As such, now is an excellent time to pursue a career in cybersecurity.
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