McDermott Releases Pivotal Study and Tools for a Much-Needed Cybersecurity Volunteer Force - McDermott Will & Emery

McDermott Releases Pivotal Study and Tools for a Much-Needed Cybersecurity Volunteer Force


International law firm McDermott Will & Emery is pleased to announce the release of a major new study that provides a roadmap for structuring and navigating a cyber volunteer force to strengthen critical security assistance nationwide.  Creating a Cyber Volunteer Force: Strategy and Options (the Cyber Volunteer Study), completed as a pro bono project by McDermott for the public benefit, has the potential to help reshape the cyber volunteer landscape to get more resources to the frontlines of cyber defense.

While there is currently no national policy or task force on cyber volunteering, there is a recognized need for such an initiative given the ongoing threats to national security. Many small and rural critical infrastructure entities—the most vulnerable and exposed—lack cyber resilience and are unable to run mature information security programs or mount an effective incident response. Indeed, the Biden administration’s updated National Cybersecurity Strategy states: “We must rebalance the responsibility to defend cyberspace by shifting the burden for cybersecurity away from individuals, small businesses, and local governments, and onto the organizations that are most capable and best-positioned to reduce risks for all of us. . . Our rapidly evolving world demands a more intentional, more coordinated, and more well-resourced approach to cyber defense.”

The Cyber Volunteer Study notes there are over 750,000 open positions in the cyber security field, or a 40% deficit of such open positions. According to a Senate report, the “consistent shortage of cybersecurity personnel represents a high risk to national security.”

The Cyber Volunteer Study explains the current state of our nation’s disconnected and siloed cyber volunteer efforts, compares various cyber volunteer models and identifies best practices and the relevant legal issues that should be considered and addressed. The study offers strategies for creating a more robust cyber volunteer initiative that backstops major national players who have the necessary resources.

“The need for a cyber volunteer force is a national imperative without a national solution,” said Mark Schreiber, lead author of the Cyber Volunteer Study and Counsel at McDermott who focuses his practice on cybersecurity and privacy. “This requires a strategy, resources and national attention to coordinate robust volunteer efforts nationwide, and this study helps provide that roadmap.”

The US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has developed an extraordinary number of detailed programs and initiatives. Yet, many small and rural entities do not have the personnel to implement those programs. The Cyber Volunteer Study assesses current and potential models to integrate volunteers to address this critical need for skilled cyber assistance. Cyber volunteers come from various diverse sources, including security and forensic companies, post-military services, universities and some newly skilled individuals wanting to help.

About McDermott’s Global Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice

McDermott’s world-class Global Privacy and Cybersecurity team includes more than 50 privacy and cybersecurity lawyers advising clients on the statutory, regulatory and enforcement regimes that govern the collection, use and disclosure of data in the United States, Europe, Asia and elsewhere.

We have extensive experience advising on the full range of data privacy and protection laws, industry standards and issues. Our lawyers regularly counsel clients on US and international data-use issues, data transfers and privacy compliance under US and foreign laws. We conduct in-depth privacy/cybersecurity risk assessments, often in the context of mergers, acquisitions and other domestic and cross-border transactions.

In the event of data breaches or alleged improper use of data, we provide swift, effective cybersecurity incident response and represent clients in litigation and government investigations.

About McDermott

McDermott Will & Emery partners with leaders around the world to fuel missions, knock down barriers and shape markets. Our team works seamlessly across practices and industries to deliver highly effective solutions that propel success. More than 1,400 lawyers strong, we bring our personal passion and legal prowess to bear in every matter for our clients and the people they serve.

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