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Understanding the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative

The CNCI provides excellent guidelines and goals for improving our cybersecurity.

Cybercrimes are predicted to cost the world $6 trillion by 2021, posing a serious threat to both businesses and governments alike.1 To help keep our digital infrastructure secure, the White House has developed the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI). The initiative is designed to marshal the strength of the U.S. government in partnership with private interests to develop the cutting-edge methods needed to protect our digital infrastructure. If you’re currently enrolled in a cybersecurity degree program—or you already work in the cybersecurity field—understanding the CNCI is essential. It establishes a framework for maintaining cybersecurity throughout the U.S. government, providing guidelines and goals that local governments and private companies can use to boost their own digital security.


Initiative #1: Manage the federal enterprise network as a single network enterprise with trusted internet connections.

You can improve cybersecurity by consolidating external access points to data. Limiting pathways—and ensuring all access points are governed with the same care—limits the ways a hacker can enter your network.

Initiative #2: Deploy an intrusion detection system of sensors across the federal enterprise.

An automated system capable of detecting malicious content within the network flow can send real-time alerts to those entrusted with cybersecurity. The faster you can respond to an attack, the faster you can stop it.

Initiative #3: Deploy intrusion prevention systems across the federal enterprise.

The ultimate goal is to stop threats before they do any harm. To achieve this, there must be technology that can automatically respond to and eliminate cyber threats at the moment they enter the network. Additionally, the best technology will identify the source of the threat, allowing for an appropriate response.

Initiative #4: Coordinate and redirect research and development efforts.

Research and Development (R&D) efforts need to be coordinated to identify research gaps, allocate resources where they are most needed, and ensure overall efficiency.

Initiative #5: Connect current cyber operations centers to enhance situational awareness.

Sharing data regarding malicious activities can help advance our understanding of threats and protect all systems.

Initiative #6: Develop and implement a government-wide cyber counterintelligence plan.

Foreign-sponsored cyberattacks threaten government and private entities alike. To combat these types of attacks, there must be a comprehensive counterintelligence plan that includes cyber counterintelligence education and awareness programs so that everyone is mindful of foreign-sponsored threats and knows how to respond.

Initiative #7: Increase the security of our classified networks.

Simply put, the most sensitive information needs the most advanced security.

Initiative #8: Expand cyber education.

There are not enough cybersecurity experts. The federal government wants to change this by investing in cyber education, which is good news if you are planning to enroll in an information technology degree program.

Initiative #9: Define and develop enduring “leap-ahead” technologies, strategies, and programs.

We need to improve cybersecurity by orders of magnitude. This will require significant investment in cybersecurity R&D and a willingness to pursue “out of the box” thinking.

Initiative #10: Define and develop enduring deterrence strategies and programs.

By making it harder to launch cyberattacks—and by making it more likely that we catch perpetrators—we can disincentivize cyberattacks. To achieve this, we need to improve warning capabilities; articulate roles for private, public, and international sectors; and develop effective ways of responding to state and non-state threats.

Initiative #11: Develop a multipronged approach for global supply chain risk management.

A secure supply chain is essential to cybersecurity. All members of your supply chain must work together to put into place the resources and technology necessary to prevent cyberattacks from originating within the chain.

Initiative #12: Define the federal role for extending cybersecurity into critical infrastructure domains.

The federal government is working to ensure that their privately operated data infrastructure remains protected. Your business can take the same approach, working with partners who store vital information to ensure that the information is as secure as possible.

Want to work in the field of cybersecurity?

The demand for information security analysts is expected to increase by 32% from 2018 to 2028.2 Staying safe and secure online is such an important priority in the U.S. that in 2004, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security teamed with the National Cyber Security Alliance to established National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.3 Celebrated each October, the initiative is aimed at helping families protect their homes against cyber threats, educating the public on careers in cyber security, ensuring online safety at work, and safeguarding the nation’s critical infrastructure. And Walden University has joined the movement to prepare the cyber security professionals of tomorrow by offering graduate certificates and degree programs at the bachelor’s, master's, and doctoral level in cyber security, software engineering, data science, information technology, and information systems.

If you are interested in entering this expanding and important field, you should consider earning an online master’s in cybersecurity. An online MS in Cybersecurity can give you the knowledge and skills you need to become a cyber security expert. Plus, because you will be learning online, you can earn your degree without upending your current life. Through an online university like Walden, you can earn an MS in Cybersecurity and experience real-world case studies and hands-on exercises as part of a curriculum developed in collaboration with IBM. It’s vital that we protect our cyber infrastructure. The CNCI has already set a path for us to follow. An online MS in Cybersecurity from Walden University can give you the opportunity to play an important role in our future cybersecurity.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online IT degrees. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,