Ann M. Beauchesne
Former Senior Vice President, National Security and Emergency Preparedness Department, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


February 06, 2017


U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue outlined our American Growth Agenda during his annual State of American Business address in January.  Economic growth is the Chamber’s No. 1 priority for 2017, and it should be no surprise that he highlighted cybersecurity as a major challenge to the global economy.

Here’s why businesses need to be vigilant. A few years ago, experts said that nation-states, criminal organizations, and terrorists are stealing our stuff. Today, not only are they still stealing, but we’re seeing highly capable and motivated nation-states use cyber to achieve strategic, political outcomes.

Conservative estimates put the global economic toll of cybercrime at $375 billion—much of that impacting businesses and consumers here in the United States.

Case in point. Remember that the North Koreans attacked Sony Motion Pictures. They stole data, destroyed computers, collapsed networks, and threatened physical harm Wow! That’s a game changer.

The problem is clear. So what are the solutions? Here are a few things that the new administration should do:

  • Build on the momentum around the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. This framework is a pillar for managing enterprise cybersecurity risks and threats and serves as a risk assessment tool.
  • Harmonize existing regulations with the cyber framework. U.S. companies are beset by multiple cybersecurity regulations coming from many agencies. These regulations are likely to shift businesses’ limited cybersecurity resources toward costly compliance mandates.
  • Improve our country’s information-sharing ecosystem. Our adversaries are able to deploy the same attack repeatedly. Cyber threat information sharing must become so effective and efficient that once an attack is detected, every business should be protected against it by day’s end.
  • Ensure that our partners, allies, and international government’s policies adhere to cyber norms. Although there has been progress on stopping cyber-enabled economic espionage, more work needs to be done.

The private sector invests significant entrepreneurial and technological energy in protecting the cyber domain. Policymakers must ask what we can do to enable, unleash, and liberate the private sector to make it more effective. Government policy and decisions shouldn’t get in the way of the private sector. The Chamber welcomes the Trump administration’s commitment to strengthening America’s cybersecurity. And above all, we believe that the administration can elevate public-private collaboration.

Working together, we can make—we must make—progress in strengthening our country’s cyber networks. By doing so, we promote economic growth and national security.

About the authors

Ann M. Beauchesne

Beauchesne is the former principal spokesperson on national security and emergency preparedness issues, and is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with administration and regulatory agency leaders.