Business leaders in sectors ranging from tech to insurance committed billions of dollars to amplifying cybersecurity efforts at a White House meeting with President Joe Biden yesterday.
The meeting was arranged following several high-profile cyberattacks, including one on government software contractor SolarWinds and oil pipeline Colonial Pipeline, that have brought added urgency to such security issues.
Such commitments range from working toward new industry standards to supplying other businesses with stronger security tools and providing skills training to workers to fill the roughly 500,000 unfilled U.S. cybersecurity jobs. Biden recently signed an executive order requiring U.S. agencies to use two-factor authentication for logins, which can help prevent cyberattacks.
Big tech commitments
The White House said Apple would create a programme devoted to making security improvements across their technology supply chains and that will include working with suppliers to adopt multifactor authentication and security training.
And Google added it would invest more than $10 billion over five years to strengthen cybersecurity. The tech giant also pledged to train 100,000 Americans in technical fields such as IT support and data analytics through its Career Certificate program. Its financial commitment will be used to strengthen the software supply chain and open-source security, among other things.
Microsoft committed $20 billion over five years to deliver more advanced security tools, CEO Satya Nadella posted after the meeting. He added that Microsoft would invest $150 million to help government agencies upgrade their security systems and expand cybersecurity training partnerships. Microsoft has spent $1 billion per year on cybersecurity since 2015.
Another giant, IBM said it would train more than 150,000 people in cybersecurity skills in three years. The company also announced a new data storage solution for critical infrastructure companies and said it is also working to create safe encryption methods for quantum computing.
Arvind Krishna, the company’s CEO, told CNBC before the meeting and outside the White House yesterday that cybersecurity is “the issue of the decade.” He said he hoped to see more coordination between the public and private sectors and added IBM would do its part to help upskill workers.
Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing division of Amazon, is planning to give account holders free multi factor authentication devices to better secure their data. It says it is also planning to offer “Security Awareness training” to organisations and individuals.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the event “brought together the right set of folks to have a good discussion.”