Enhancing Cybersecurity for Small Contractors: Pentagon Steps In

The Pentagon is currently developing a shared virtual cloud-based workspace for contractors in order to enhance their cybersecurity measures. This initiative is part of a broader strategic effort aimed at enhancing the security of defense companies.

“We are collaborating with the Office of Small Business [Programs] to create a purpose-built cloud where small businesses can easily operate and enhance cybersecurity,” stated David McKeown, the Pentagon’s deputy CIO for cybersecurity and chief information security officer.

The objective is to launch a pilot version later this year with around 75 small businesses to assess the security of data in a cloud environment. If successful, the pilot could be expanded to include more companies.

This effort aligns with the Pentagon’s recently released industrial cybersecurity strategy, which aims to enhance data and network security in the defense industry base by centralizing cyber efforts and resources.

McKeown emphasized the importance of combating cyber threats, stating, “Everyone should be aware of the power of hackers and the risks our data faces. This poses a significant threat that can be mitigated through improved cybersecurity measures.”

The strategy seeks to improve defense company cybersecurity management, enhance overall security in the industrial base, strengthen production capabilities, and promote collaboration.

“We continue to observe cyber intrusions, which underscores the importance of our cybersecurity efforts. Learning from these incidents is crucial in strengthening our defenses,” McKeown added.

The strategy also aims to guide companies on cyber requirements, processes, and available assistance. Currently, only about 1,500 out of an estimated 200,000 or more companies contracting with the Defense Department utilize voluntary cybersecurity assistance services through the Defense Department’s Cyber Crime Center.

“We offer a cyber resilience analysis process to assist small businesses in identifying vulnerabilities in their networks. We encourage those handling controlled unclassified information to join the program for enhanced cybersecurity measures,” said Stacy Bostjanick, lead for defense industrial base cybersecurity efforts at the Pentagon.

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