Rethinking the Role of Compliance

Understanding the National Cyber Strategy: A Path to Safe Harbor for Private Sector Firms

The United States government recently published its National Cyber Strategy, a comprehensive plan aimed at improving the nation’s cybersecurity posture. The strategy outlines several key initiatives, including securing federal networks, strengthening critical infrastructure cybersecurity, and promoting cybersecurity as a national economic and security priority.

For private sector firms, the strategy offers several important insights and opportunities to enhance their cybersecurity posture. Here are the five key takeaways:

  • Collaboration is key: The strategy emphasizes the importance of public-private collaboration in the fight against cyber threats. Private sector firms are encouraged to work with federal agencies, share threat intelligence, and engage in joint training exercises to strengthen cybersecurity defenses.
  • Continuous monitoring is essential: The strategy stresses the need for continuous monitoring and risk assessment to identify and mitigate potential cyber threats. Private sector firms are encouraged to adopt a risk-based approach to cybersecurity, continuously evaluating and improving their security posture.
  • Supply chain security is critical: The strategy highlights the importance of securing the technology supply chain, as vulnerabilities in third-party software and hardware can pose significant risks. Private sector firms are encouraged to work with suppliers to ensure that they adhere to best practices and have appropriate security measures in place.
  • Public-private information sharing: The strategy emphasizes the importance of information sharing between public and private entities to strengthen cybersecurity defenses. Private sector firms are encouraged to participate in information sharing programs, sharing threat intelligence and best practices with federal agencies.
  • Safe Harbor provisions: The strategy includes provisions for a Safe Harbor program, which would provide liability protection for private sector firms that demonstrate an adequate level of cybersecurity maturity. To qualify for Safe Harbor, private sector firms would need to demonstrate that they have implemented appropriate cybersecurity controls and are continuously improving their cybersecurity posture.

The Safe Harbor program is an important incentive for private sector firms to prioritize cybersecurity and implement effective controls. However, the strategy does not specify the standards that private sector firms would need to meet to qualify for Safe Harbor. It is expected that these standards will be developed in consultation with industry stakeholders.

Although the legislative and regulatory framework proposed by the Strategy remains to be defined, private sector organizations should take a proactive stance by investing in compliance readiness to ensure their ability to achieve and demonstrate continuous compliance with rapidly emerging mandates and contractual requirements. As cybersecurity maturity becomes an integral component of digital product and service procurement decisions, organizations who wish to maintain their competitive advantage must consider investments in compliance automation and continuous control monitoring a strategic priority.

The National Cyber Strategy highlights the importance of collaboration, continuous monitoring, and risk management to enhance cybersecurity posture. The Safe Harbor program offers a pathway for private sector firms to demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity and qualify for liability protection. As the cybersecurity threat landscape continues to evolve, private sector firms must remain vigilant and work closely with federal agencies to ensure the security of our nation’s critical infrastructure and sensitive data.

Schedule a demo to learn more about how we can help your organization enhance its cybersecurity posture and achieve and demonstrate continuous compliance with rapidly emerging mandates and contractual requirements. Our end-to-end compliance automation and Converged Continuous Compliance solution can help you meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving threat landscape and maintain your competitive advantage. Don’t wait until it’s too late, take action now to protect your organization and its critical assets.

Read the National Cyber Security Strategy here

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