With Cyberattacks on the Rise, White House Releases Cybersecurity Framework

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Given the apparent vulnerabilities evidenced by recent cyberattacks to big-box retailers, cybersecurity remains a top priority for both the federal government and private sector. On February 12, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published the voluntary Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity. The framework provides an opportunity for the private sector to engage the federal government on cybersecurity. Numerous sectors, from energy, financial services and telecommunications to health care, insurance and defense, have much to lose and must continue to work with the federal government to mitigate cybersecurity risks.

Although the framework provides voluntary guidelines, it may provide a foundation for mandatory requirements via federal regulations; requirements as a condition of award for acquisitions, and enforcement actions by state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission. That said, the private sector must prepare for the possibility of mandatory requirements and to work with the federal government to further develop the framework, especially since many critical issues remain unresolved.

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