Digital Economics of Cybersecurity: Privacy vs. Growth

Futuristic modern cyber man with technology screen eye panel concept

The President’s National Commission on Enhancing Cybersecurity has released a new publication titled “Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy“. The Commission was established in February 2016 under Executive Order 13718 with the mandate of  enhancing cybersecurity in a way that not only cultivates new technology but also protects privacy and promotes the digital security of Americans.

The Commission organized its research into areas of focus such as critical infrastructure, cybersecurity workforce, identity management and authentication, and the Internet of Things. Yet, they “also took into account broader trends and issues affecting each of these topics, notably the convergence of information technologies and physical systems, risk management, privacy and trust, global versus national realms of influence and controls, free market and regulatory regimes and solutions, legal and liability considerations, the difficulty in developing meaningful metrics of cybersecurity, and automated technology–based cybersecurity approaches and consumer responsibilities.”

From their research, the Commission has identified the following nine greatest challenges to our cybersecurity. In the full report, you can also read the six imperatives, 16 recommendations and 53 related actions. From the report:

1.) Technology companies are under significant market pressure to innovate and move to market quickly, often at the expense of cybersecurity.

2.) Organizations and their employees require flexible and mobile working environments.

3.) Many organizations and individuals still fail to do the basics.

4.) Both offense and defense adopt the same innovations.

5.) The attacker has the advantage.

6.) Technological complexity creates vulnerability.

7.) Interdependencies and supply chain risks abound.

8.) Governments are as operationally dependent on cyberspace as the private sector is.

9.) Trust is fundamental.

This publication calls into perspective that which we already know, but seldom like to admit: as technology advances with an unrelenting speed, we find ourselves in a vulnerable and uncharted cyber territory. The Commission provides some sound advice based on the imperatives, and they also include explicit action items in order to create a roadmap for cybersecurity success. TBD on how, or if, the new administration will implement the Commission’s recommendations.