White House asks for more money to shore up cybersecurity – now, to find the contractors

(Cyberwar.news) The Obama administration is requesting $19 billion for improving cybersecurity in its fiscal year 2017 budget, but actually improving cyber defenses against sophisticated nation-state hacking will depend more on whether the government can find enough private-sector contractors to help out.

As reported by Defense One, the Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which has  been released months after a large-scale hack exposed millions of individuals’ government background checks, seeks $19 billion in investments as part of the president’s 2017 fiscal year budget. And, to ensure that potential vendors are aware of the bolstered cyber budget – up 35 percent from FY 2016 – the General Services Administration (GSA) is hosting an “industry day” during which GSA and Homeland Security officials will talk about the CNAP’s requirements, risk assessments and information about how agencies can buy from contracting vehicles.

The event, scheduled for June 13, will focus in on “highly adaptive” cybersecurity services, according to a posting at FedBizOpps.gov.

Defense One reported further:

The cyber plan also proposes a $3.1-billion revolving Information Technology Modernization Fund that agencies could use to fund updates to their internal systems and the appointment of the first federal chief information security officer.

For the better part of a year the federal government has been attempting to forge cyber alliances with Silicon Valley and other defense contractors for the express purpose of bolstering cyberdefense and protection of vital government and private-sector IT systems.

Aside from formal contracts with the U.S. government, the CNAP also lays out a couple of ways in which tech companies can contribute, overall, to national cyber defenses. For example, the nonprofit National Cyber Security Alliance is partnering with tech and media giants like Google, Facebook, DropBox and Microsoft to boost protections of online accounts.

But for any government cybersecurity plan to succeed, private-sector tech will have to be heavily involved because that’s where the expertise is.

“Another federal effort pushes government agencies to use better identity-proofing and multi-factor authentication, and reducing the government’s use of of Social Security numbers as a way to verify that citizens are who they say they are, the plan says,” Defense One reported.

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