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Cooperation
between the public and private sector will be crucial in order to combat
mounting cybercrimes and threats in today’s world. Without the development of
public-private partnerships, the security trepidations of cyberspace may pose
an overwhelming challenge, however, the adaption of these partnerships can
facilitate the development of a robust cybersecurity structure that can combat
and respond to threats in real time. The public sector has various strengths in
that it is better positioned to investigate and prosecute cyber criminals.
Collaboration between the private sector and governmental agencies on joint
cybersecurity projects can leverage the distinct yet matching strengths of both
sectors. For instance, “public-private partnerships are particularly effective
in mitigating financial cybercrime, for the joint cooperation of the two
sectors address the interests of consumers, businesses, and the government
alike” (Choo, 2011).

Given that activities in cyberspace
takes place in real time; activities occur instantaneously, regardless if the
outcome is positive or negative. Consequently, calling for a more speedy and
coherent response. For instance, a hacker uses a virus, spyware, spam,
phishing, or any technique to breach the firewall of a network and steals
confidential data from an unauthorized network without the required
authentication. This was evident in the Sony and OPM hacks. The concern is that
response time to these attacks is very slow in cyberspace. A private entity has
to call the government and describe the attack, code, information stolen, and
threats, etc. The government then has to alert all of its agencies: The Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of
Investigations (FBI), DHS, Intelligence Task Force, and all of the other
agencies which have sensitive information (Choo, 2011). The process takes too
much time for response, because as the first hack is dealt with, other hacks
are already taking place. The issue is so widespread that Congress set in
motion the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) of 2015, through the
legislative process in a short space of time. The Act has the mandate to
“improve cybersecurity in the United States through enhanced sharing of information
about cybersecurity threats.” (Congress, 2015). As a result, a valuable method
of dealing with this response issue would be the use of PPPs. Public-private
partnerships are fairly new to cyberspace, however if established, can be an
immensely valuable tool to enhance cybersecurity and defend and identify
cybercrimes.

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Boosting the ongoing channel of communication between the
public and private sector will help ensure that the nation’s networks and data is
being defended with the latest, effective cybersecurity technologies and talent
available.  Cooperation between the public and private sectors is an important
aspect of the national cybersecurity strategy. Cybersecurity PPPs must be founded
on a foundation of mutual trust, and an open channel of communication between
private companies and the government can help to ameliorate some of the reluctance
in the private sector (Germano,
2014). Additionally, by elucidating the regulatory framework
surrounding cybersecurity, the government can better assuage the private
sectors’ reservations to reach out to the government in the event of an attack.
By addressing these concerns, cybersecurity PPPs can work to develop strategies
for risk management and information sharing, and both the private sector and
the government will be better equipped to handle future cyber threats (Germano, 2014).

According
to the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, the goal of cybersecurity
public-private partnerships is comprised of three parts. First, these
partnerships should identify and detect behaviors of concern. Second, public-private
partnerships have to make certain that participants from both sectors comply
with the standards of the partnership. Third, and possibly most importantly, public-private
partnerships must provide a mechanism for response after a cyber threat; this requires
conducting examinations of an attack and tackling any necessary deficiencies in
the current defense system (INSA, 2009). In addition, effective PPPs have
to also guarantee that cybersecurity developments in the private sector and
their policy implications are well understood by policy makers (Choo, 2011). 

Despite
the fact that public-private partnerships are beneficial for both sectors, some
private companies are unwilling to create cybersecurity PPPs. The chief
hesitations in the private sector to form a public-private partnership have to
do with issues of trust, control, and disclosure. As it pertains to trust, the
private sector regularly have reservations as to whether they should involve
the government after a cyberattack, this is due to the fact that the government
would essentially have access to the company’s confidential data. Furthermore,
even in the event of a major breach, companies might be unwilling to openly
involve the public sector if they fear that government involvement would only
escalate the severity of the situation (Germano,
2014). Also,
once a private company involves a government agency in investigating a
cyberattack, the company could lose control over their investigation. Some
companies are also hesitant to share information with the government. Since the
government would not be able to provide all data regarding potential cyber-crimes
because some information may be classified or confidential, many companies feel
that the information sharing would end up as a one-way relationship (Choo,
2011). Additionally, a number of private companies may also worry that
handing over sensitive information may damage their reputation or that the
information will not be treated will full confidentiality (Cavelty and Suter,
2009).

As clearly
conveyed, public-private partnerships have disadvantages and restrictions in
the field of cybersecurity. This does not make creating an effective partnership
unattainable. Partners must communicate, define goals, declare
responsibilities, have great leaders and experts, and cooperate in order to
develop a successful PPP for cybersecurity or any industry (Cellucci, 2010). Public-private
partnerships have to work through limitations since the advantages of a PPP
definitely outweigh the disadvantages.

The need
for the government and private sector to work together to protect the nation’s
critical infrastructures has never been as vital as it today. Therefore, it is
imperative that public-private partnerships and information sharing is
bolstered. Bringing together the best and most innovative information
technology experts from across the private and public sectors will allow them
to create comprehensive solutions, capabilities and responses to cyberattacks. Even
though there is no simple solution to deal with the diverse and tenacious
nature of cyber threats, and the problem is and will remain pervasive, enhanced
public-private sector collaboration in recent years has generated success
across various industries. These partnerships also aid in creating an open, clear
line of communication where the public and private sector can learn from each
other and share best security practices that will be crucial to detect and defend
against future cyberattacks. 

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