Strengthening Data Security to Protect Consumers

May 29, 2024
4 minutes
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As senior director and assistant general counsel for Public Policy & Government Affairs at Palo Alto Networks, I have dedicated much of my career to navigating the intricate nexus of cybersecurity, national security and data privacy. I recently had the privilege of testifying on Strengthening Data Security to Protect Consumers before a Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing.

As I outlined in my written testimony, Palo Alto Networks is proud to be the global cybersecurity leader – protecting organizations across more than 150 countries. We support 95 of the Fortune 100, critical infrastructure operators of all shapes and sizes, the U.S. federal government, universities, educational institutions and a wide range of state and local partners.

Practically speaking, this means we have a unique vantage point into the cyberthreat landscape. This information, paired with the insights we develop from helping organizations respond daily to complex cybersecurity incidents, puts us on the front lines of the cyber defense battle. We are committed to using this mantle to be good cyber citizens and trusted security partners.

Sam Kaplan testimony on consumer data privacy.

Cybersecurity Enables Data Privacy

The reality that cybersecurity serves as a great enabler of data privacy is central to protecting our digital way of life. Through the deployment of state-of-the-art cybersecurity measures, we can empower organizations to safeguard their data assets, both preventing cyber incidents and mitigating their impact, should they occur. To this end, Palo Alto Networks supports the development of a federal privacy law that establishes a single national standard to prevent a complex compliance patchwork. We promote robust and adaptable data security standards, spanning prevention to response. And, we recognize the beneficial uses of security data in permitted purposes.

The contemporary threat landscape presents formidable challenges, with cyber adversaries leveraging increasingly sophisticated tactics to exploit vulnerabilities and exfiltrate data in record. Fortunately, AI is turbocharging cyber defense, helping network defenders stay a step ahead of attackers.

A particularly compelling example of this is the impact of AI-driven security operation centers (SOC). Early customer benefits from AI-driven SOC capabilities are particularly promising. We have already seen a reduction in average cyber incident response times from 4 days to under 2 hours.

Recommendations for Optimal Data Security

As organizations seek to enhance their cybersecurity and data security postures, Palo Alto Networks offers recommendations:

  1. Ensure Complete Visibility of Attack Surfaces – Help identify and mitigate vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.
  2. Promote Secure AI by Design – Assist in inventorying AI usage, applying policy controls, and securing apps built with AI.
  3. Leverage the Power of AI and Automation – Cyber defenders have been inundated with alerts to triage manually, which leads to data breaches. AI can flip this paradigm.
  4. Implement Zero Trust Network Architecture – Prevent or limit an attacker from moving laterally across the network.
  5. Protect Cloud Infrastructure and Applications – As cloud adoption accelerates, cloud security cannot be an afterthought.
  6. Maintain and Test an Incident Response Plan – Prepare for and respond to cyber incidents.

The Power of People and Partnerships

It is often said that cybersecurity is a team sport, and partnership is in our DNA at Palo Alto Networks, and across the entire cybersecurity industry.

Palo Alto Networks is proud to be a founding Alliance member of CISA’s Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC). In forums like these, we share technical threat intelligence daily through partnerships with U.S. government entities, private sector entities and other allied nations to support global prevention and response to significant cyber incidents.

I extend my sincere gratitude to the committee for the opportunity to share these insights. As we navigate the complex landscape of cyberthreats, our commitment to innovation and collaboration must be unwavering. This will in turn enhance data privacy and the security of our digital infrastructure.

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