Former CIA, NSA Director: U.S. Government Will Always Be Late to Cybersecurity

Amid "tectonic shifts" across the globe, private industry rather than the U.S. government will ultimately fill the cyber security void, according to former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden. Moreover, the U.S. government will be permanently late to protecting U.S. citizens in the cyber domain, Hayden predicted.

Hayden, speaking at the Ingram Micro ONE conference today in Las Vegas, painted a troubling picture of the current threat landscape. Nation states play less of a role in the cyber terror landscape. Instead, sub-state actors and even individuals are now empowered to raise terror across the Internet and associated IT infrastructure.

Hayden conceded that the U.S.'s NSA operation is really good at stealing information. But, he added, "We steal information to keep you safe and free. We don’t do it for profit."

The Cavalry Isn't Coming

But in terms of the U.S. government providing and enforcing cyber security "the cavalry isn't coming," he asserted. Instead, private industry is filling the void. "I believe in the cyber domain the main body that will protect us is not the government. It's industry."

Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins essentially made a similar statement during Cisco Partner Summit several weeks ago in San Francisco.

In the meantime, SMBs can more effectively safeguard themselves by moving workloads to the cloud -- where economies of scale kick in. "Move to someone who can do security at scale," Hayden asserted.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.