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

 Understanding the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative

Hackers release new malware threats every day, costing companies an estimated $450 billion a year.* Additionally, cyberattacks pose a serious threat to governments. 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 an information technology 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 18% from 2014 to 2024. If you are interested in entering this expanding and important field, you should consider earning an online information technology degree. And online IT degree can give you the knowledge and skills you need to become a cybersecurity expert. Plus, because you will be learning online, you can earn your degree without upending your current life. Through an online university, you can earn a BS in Information Technology, an MS in Information Technology, or a Doctor of Information Technology (DIT).

It’s vital that we protect our cyber infrastructure. The CNCI has already set a path for us to follow. An online IT degree 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 in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

* L. Graham, Cybercrime Costs the Global Economy $450 Billion: CEO, CNBC, on the internet at

†Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016–2017 Edition, Information Security Analysts, on the internet at

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

Online Learning For Working Professionals

Download the step-by-step guide to determine if online learning is right for you.

By submitting this form, I understand and agree that Walden University may contact me via email, text, telephone, and prerecorded message regarding furthering my education and that calls may be generated using automated technology. You may opt out at any time. Please view our privacy policy or contact us for more details.