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Cybersecurity risks move into spotlight amid recent breaches


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Cybersecurity risks move into spotlight amid recent breaches

Cybersecurity threats are increasing in both the government and private sector as more agencies and businesses move to the cloud and accelerate remote working due to the pandemic.

Two events taking place this week will address how government agencies and private companies can protect their systems amid a slew of cybersecurity attacks, including major breaches of network software firm SolarWinds Corp. and mobile carrier T-Mobile US Inc.

The Information will host a video summit titled "What's Next in Cybersecurity" on Aug. 26 that will include a live question-and-answer session with cybersecurity, trust and safety experts to help businesses learn how to secure their organizations from threats and the importance of a strong cybersecurity plan.

On the same day, Nextgov, an online news publication that covers federal technology, will host its "Reducing the Risk" virtual event as part of its 10-part Cybersmart 2021 series. Speakers include Michael Anderson, chief information security officer for Dallas County, Texas; Mariam Baksh, Nextgov reporter; and Shane Barney, chief information security officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Officials from The Information were not available, but GovExec's director of programming, Kate Anderson, said her company's event will be particularly useful to government leaders and private sector companies that work directly with government agencies.

"Our goal is to really highlight stories from government so people can take these lessons back and apply them to their own agencies," Anderson said. "Cybersecurity is kind of the No. 1 thing that IT leaders and government are focusing on right now. It's baked into every modernization, digital transformation and cloud migration initiative."

Both events are taking place as the Biden administration has placed a heightened focus on cybersecurity. In May, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to improve the country's cybersecurity defenses and create new standards to evaluate software security.

In early August, the U.S. government tapped Big Tech companies including Inc. and Google LLC to participate in the new Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative initiative to combat ransomware and cyberattacks on cloud-computing providers.

Anderson said Biden's moves to stop cyberattacks are a step in the right direction. Government leaders would also like to see his administration focus more on providing funding and workforce training to implement and maintain cybersecurity programs. More bad actors are targeting government, Anderson added, including smaller state agencies that lack the funding to execute sophisticated cybersecurity plans.

Efforts to quell the attacks are imperative as businesses in areas including healthcare and finance lose millions of dollars annually to data breaches.

According to International Business Machines Corp.'s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach report, data breach costs rose to an average of $4.24 million in 2021, up from $3.86 million the year before. The risks were lower for some organizations with a mature security plan and higher for organizations that lagged in areas such as automation, zero trust and cloud security.

Remote working also played a factor in raising the cost of a data breach.

The report said the average cost of a breach was $1.07 million higher when remote work played a role in the incident. Organizations with more than half of their workforce working remotely took 58 days longer to identify and contain breaches than those with 50% or less working remotely.


Aug. 23-27 The FTC will hold its administrative trial in the matter of Illumina Inc. and GRAIL Inc. The FTC has alleged that Illumina's $7.1 billion proposed acquisition of Grail will diminish innovation in the U.S. market for MCED, or multicancer early detection, tests.
Industry, legal and think tank events
Aug. 23-24 Fierce Electronics will host its Industrial Internet of Things Summit.
Aug. 24 The Institute for Policy Innovation will host an online event titled "Online Freedom of Speech and the States."
Aug. 26 The Information will host its "What's Next in Cybersecurity" video summit from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Aug. 26 NextGov will hold a video webinar titled "Reducing the Risk" from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Stories of note:

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What the $14.2B Affordable Connectivity Fund could mean for broadband providers

FTC refines case against Facebook amid questions on Chair Khan's agenda

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The Week Ahead will resume the week of Sept 5.