Executive Order on Cybersecurity Raises More Questions than It Answers

17 May 2017
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Key takeaways

  • On May 11, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order primarily designed to strengthen the cybersecurity of federal networks and critical national infrastructure (“CNI”), such as emergency services, energy and water systems, the communications sector, financial services firms and the Defense Industrial Base. The Order also seeks to identify international cybersecurity priorities and means of developing a more robust cybersecurity workforce.
  • To achieve these goals, the order requires that agency heads produce cybersecurity risk assessments addressing three groups: federal agencies, CNI entities and the U.S. workforce at large.
  • Overall, the order raises more questions than it answers regarding the current administration’s cybersecurity priorities in that it does not explicitly call for new regulations specifying what companies must do to protect and defend their networks. However, companies that are designated as owners and operators of CNI under 42 U.S.C. § 5195c(e) may be contacted by federal agencies and should be prepared to discuss their existing cybersecurity mechanisms.