Cybersecurity Is National Security
A calling for American business
In today’s complex geopolitical environment, inadequate business cybersecurity has clear and immediate national security implications. The common business drivers for cybersecurity – enterprise risk, compliance, service management, operational resilience and cyber hygiene – must now be supplemented by a deeper understanding of the national security impacts of business in unprotected digital space.
Digital platforms and data assets are an indispensable part of business. Customers communicate and consume content and services through microprocessors and information networks. The web is resilient and growing more intelligent. The digital medium that underpins our economy and way of life is now critical infrastructure.
Adversarial activities in this digital medium include exfiltration, infrastructure compromise (physical & digital) and information pollution. When directed by foreign states, they have the effect of drastically reducing our competitive advantage, radically scaling up espionage, polluting our social fabric and feeding data-hungry weaponized A.I. Intellectual property theft has already closed technology gaps at unnatural speed. Ransomware continues to wreak havoc across networks. Supply chains may only be as strong as their weakest link. The ability to identify weak economic and societal signals in the noise of everyday life, all made possible by big data, offers hostile powers an advantage.
To the perpetrators, no data gleaned from adversaries and competitors is too small. All data has some value. Everyone and every organization can be impacted. The asymmetric, go-directly-after-the-population-and-institutions approach that characterizes this grey zone conflict arguably means that the long feared “cyber 9-11” is here. It is all around us and happening every day. Its effects are just drawn out, making them harder to grasp.
Business cybersecurity is increasingly relevant to the national security mission because business activity in cyberspace is an element of the redefined battlefield. The way forward lies in being clear eyed about the problem and doing all we can as American businesses to secure the digital foundations of our work and life.