Information security: A key issue in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign?

As the number and scale of data breaches continue to grow, cybersecurity issues are becoming part of our national discourse. The topic is already a key issue for the 2016 presidential campaign, and voters can expect more cybersecurity policy discussions in the upcoming presidential debates.

According to a Tripwire survey, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of information security professionals would prefer to vote for a presidential candidate who has a strong cybersecurity policy.

“There is a big difference between a candidate who has a cybersecurity policy and a candidate who has an understanding of cybersecurity,” said Dwayne Melancon, CTO for Tripwire. “In the past, there have been unrealistic expectations regarding the government’s role in the cybersecurity space as well as difficulties in passing effective legislation. It will be important for candidates to not only articulate their concern for cybersecurity, but to also share a concrete plan on how they will incorporate the expertise of respected experts, who can help craft practical, effective and sustainable cybersecurity policies.”

When asked what role cybersecurity policy and regulation play in the upcoming presidential election, more than half of respondents (54 percent) said it would be a key issue. However, 32 percent of respondents acknowledged that while most candidates will discuss cybersecurity, these discussions will be mainly rhetoric.

Only 14 percent of respondents believe cybersecurity will not be a key issue in the upcoming election.

“Politicians haven’t become more literate on the cybersecurity issue, but they certainly have become more aware of the financial results of inaction,” said Tim Erlin, director of IT security and risk strategy for Tripwire. “There’s no doubt that recent incidents have raised the political profile of cybersecurity in this country, driven not by a renewed interest in technology, but by the increasingly disastrous effects of successful attacks. While the majority of respondents view cybersecurity policy as a key issue, there has been little agreement on the details of how government should be involved.”

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