Recently, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on cybersecurity to bolster the government’s cybersecurity and protect critical infrastructure from cyber attacks, marking his first significant action to address what he has called a top priority. This executive order will call for a special council to be formed with the sole responsibility of upgrading the U.S. Government’s IT services. It stated for the U.S. Government to move more into the cloud and to modernize its IT infrastructure. President Trump stated “Americans deserve better digital services from their government.” in relation to the current government systems that some are more than 50 years old. 

The order calls for an examination of the impact of moving agencies toward a shared information technology environment, such as through cloud computing services. It also urges voluntary cooperation with the private sector to develop better strategies to fend off and reduce attacks from botnets, or networks of infected devices.

The order seeks to improve the often-maligned network security of U.S. government agencies, from which foreign governments and other hackers have pilfered millions of personal records and other forms of sensitive data in recent years.

The executive order also expressed that the heads of each government agency responsible for the security. Making it more difficult for executives to pass the buck to their information technology staffs every time a new breach is discovered. 

The order signed is designed to centralized risk and move the government’s agencies toward shared IT services. Tom Bossert, White House Homeland Security Adviser, stated “Too much time and money have been spent protecting old federal IT systems, some of which store U.S. citizens.”

The order seeks to improve the often-maligned network security of U.S. government agencies, from which foreign governments and other hackers have pilfered millions of personal records and other forms of sensitive data in recent years.

Last year, a U.S. government office warned that many legacy systems in use were becoming obsolete and dependent on software and hardware no longer supported. For instance, the Department of Defense still relies on 8-inch floppy disks to coordinate operations for its nuclear arms. U.S. taxpayers’ data is also processed with systems more than 50 years old.

The executive order also calls upon all federal agencies to implement the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, a set of best practices developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology for the information technology industry, policies that were issued in 2014 but the government never adopted. The White House said the order also aimed to enhance protection of infrastructure such as the energy grid and financial sector from sophisticated attacks that officials have warned could pose a national security threat or cripple parts of the economy.

Besides the addition of this executive order President Trump has advised all agencies to review their federal workforce’s cyber talent. This being an area where the government has faced a growing shortfall of qualified personnel in recent years.

“From this point forward, departments and agencies shall practice what we preach,” Bossert said.