Cybersecurity will be the issue of this decade. As our dependency on technology continues to grow so will the scale and sophistication of cybersecurity threats. For businesses, the intensification of cybercrime can be explained by Sutton’s law: that’s where the money is. The cost of cybercrime – already in the billions of dollars – rises each year and continues to increase in frequency, scope, and severity of impact.
While some attacks are costly and inconvenient, others can be crippling. With cybersecurity quickly becoming a new battleground for state competition, businesses and government share a collective responsibility to collaborate on preventing cyberattacks that could have a devastating impact or prompt national or global crises. We must join forces now to shore up the security of the critical infrastructure that keeps our society functioning.
As a leading enterprise security firm, IBM is uniquely positioned to help. Our teams use cloud and AI-powered software to manage 150 billion cybersecurity events each day for more than 17,000 commercial and government clients worldwide. Drawing on this breadth of expertise and capabilities, IBM is ready to do its part to help our nation build enduring cybersecurity.
To that end, I was honored to meet today with President Biden and members of his Cabinet for a series of in-depth discussions on how we can collectively strengthen America’s digital defenses. I shared in those discussions five key commitments and initiatives that IBM is pledging to help address this national imperative.
- Building a more robust and diverse cyber workforce: There are nearly 500,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs across the nation (Source: NIST). To help prepare more American students and workers for those vital roles, IBM will train more than 150,000 people in cybersecurity skills over the next three years through a range of programs, such as SkillsBuild. We also will partner with more than 20 Historically Black Colleges & Universities to establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers to build a more diverse U.S. cyber workforce.
- Measuring progress and results: We need to go beyond cybersecurity commitments and focus on measuring tangible progress and results. Measurement tools already exists in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting. In the same way, IBM is today calling for the establishment of voluntary public reporting standards on cybersecurity practices. We believe the cyber framework developed by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) could serve as a strong starting point for building such a reporting system.
- Protecting critical infrastructure: Dealing with a cybersecurity crisis is a matter of when, not if. To help critical infrastructure organizations better prepare for and recover from ransomware attacks, we are announcing IBM Safeguarded Copy—a new data storage solution that can shorten the time it takes for organizations to recover from days to hours. IBM is already working with industries that operate critical infrastructure and will expand this offering to other clients.
- Accelerating quantum-safe cryptography: While quantum computers will help solve new categories of problems that are beyond the reach of even today’s most powerful traditional computers, they will also make our current encryption methods obsolete. As we prepare for a quantum world, IBM is committed to developing and deploying new, quantum-safe encryption methods such as lattice-based cryptography.
- Securing the Technology Supply Chain: Finally, IBM committed our participation in an effort led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a comprehensive framework to improve the security of the technology supply chain. This work builds on IBM’s engagement with NIST on software supply chain security following the president’s recent cybersecurity executive order, and it also will include a focus on open source technology in which IBM has decades of expertise.
PROTECTING OUR DIGITAL ECONOMY: A CONCERTED EFFORT
As we have seen in just the past few months, cyberattacks can cause widescale disruption, economic upheaval, and even physical damage. If nothing is done, future attacks could become even more destructive and impact the power, transport, and communications systems we all depend upon to live and work.
IBM is already taking action on many fronts to protect our digital economy—from keeping our data secure, to helping cyber-defenders become as collaborative as cybercriminals, to inspiring a new generation to pursue careers in cyber, and more.
That said, no private company can face this monumental challenge alone. Now is the time for the public and private sectors to step up their collective efforts to improve our nation’s cybersecurity for decades to come. And I commend President Biden and his administration for marshalling the country’s private and public sector resources to strengthen our national defense.