On October 4, 2017 the U.S. Chamber held the Sixth Annual Cybersecurity Summit in Washington, D.C. Many pivotal topics were discussed, including workforce development, the protection of critical infrastructure, the need for ‘hyper-collaboration’, among others.

At the Summit, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke urged participation in National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and noted that, “Just as we are all connected to and through cyberspace, we must be unified in protecting our digital frontier.” An allied approach is not only necessary in combating threats, but also in addressing workforce needs. Over the next 5 years millions of cybersecurity jobs are projected to go unfilled. “We need to create a sense of urgency about the importance of growing and sustaining a world class cyber workforce,” Duke pressed as she explained, “We need both short term and long term efforts from senior government and industry leaders, individuals, employers, parents, and teachers. This is critical. We need all hands on deck.”

In today’s world, not only can cyber attacks affect business operations, but our communities’ critical infrastructure as well. CEO of American Gas Association, Dave McCurdy discussed this reality in his presentation at the Summit, explaining that, “Becoming a more connected industry makes us a more attractive target for sophisticated cyber terrorists and rogue nation states.” This is true for other technologically connected infrastructure systems as well, water included. The very foundation of our communities are becoming more technological, which comes with vulnerabilities that must be addressed. McCurdy stated that, “Safety is not a procedure, but a culture. Similarly cybersecurity is not a one-time activity, but remains ongoing.” The American Gas Association has made an industry commitment to cybersecurity, and this same commitment should be adopted across other industries.

Public-private collaboration has always proven to be an effective, highly-productive means of addressing public policy issues and this is especially true for cybersecurity. As Paul Abbate, Executive Assistant Director, Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch, FBI noted, “It is essential that we continue to build partnerships where we can comfortably share information, increase collaboration, and move towards a preventative state rather than a reactive state” The nature of the issue calls for teamwork at unprecedented levels. “I often refer to what we need in the cyberspace as hyper-collaboration,” said Abbate.

Presentations at the Summit touched on a wide range of other important subjects. Hyper-collaboration, the protection of infrastructure, and workforce development were only a part of a much larger conversation. To view the Summit in its’ entirety visit https://www.uschamber.com/event/sixth-annual-cybersecurity-summit#