In Washington, on August 25th, US President Joe Biden hosted executives hailing from major technology and financial firms to break new ground on the issue of cyber security. In Biden’s words, cyber security represents “the core national security challenge we are facing.”

Private sector executives from Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet, among others, attended the White House summit. Invitees also included executives from JPMorgan Chase & Co., the CEO of Bank of America, along with other financial sector representatives.

The summit took place amidst continued US evacuations in Afghanistan, highlighting the importance of cyber security for the nation. National cyber security incidents can have an outside impact, as seen earlier this year. In a briefing, Biden stated that roughly 500,000 cyber security roles remain unfilled and that the private sector is obliged to do more in order to safeguard technological systems.

“The federal government can’t meet this challenge alone” he stated. “I’ve invited you all here because you have the power, the capacity and the responsibility, I believe, to raise the bar on cyber security.”

Actionable imperatives for the private sector

Upon the summit’s conclusion, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, announced that the search engine company can commit at least $10 billion to cyber security initiatives within the next five years. Google will expand zero-trust programs, and train 100,000 Americans in data analysis and technical support via a certificate program. Similarly, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna promised to offer cyber security training to more than 150,000 people within three years.

Further, the National Institute of Standards and Technology will collaborate with major tech firms and insurance industry firms to develop new guidelines for the creation of technology products with “baked in” security. A cyber security program established earlier this year to monitor electrical companies’ networks will also expand to include natural gas firms.

Reshaping industries for security at-scale

Meeting participants zeroed in on how to enhance security within specific industries, en masse. At least one leader described the effort as analogous to the standardization of seat belts and airbags in vehicles.

“The reality is, most of our critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector…” said Biden.

In summary

Cyber security incidents can destabilize society. Experts liken ransomware attacks to acts of terrorism. Ransomware represents a national security threat.

Private sector organizations need to continue evolving existing cyber security initiatives to build a more secure future. Organizations must also “continue to invest in IT modernization,” says Jeanette Manfra, Google Cloud Director of Security.

White House officials urge organizations to integrate security into technology design, to build a top-tier, diverse cyber security workforce, to adopt cyber hygiene practices to the greatest extent possible, and to continue to “raise the bar on cybersecurity.”

Does your organization have end-to-end security, from the enterprise, to the cloud, to your employees’ mobile devices? To tighten your organization’s cyber security, reach out to representatives at a market-leading cyber security firm here.

Lastly, sign up for the Cyber Talk newsletter here.