Each October, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency and theNational Cybersecurity Alliance lead the cybersecurity community in an educational campaign around the impact of cybersecurity breaches and best practices to prevent them. Cybersecurity Awareness Month was created to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity among individual citizens and companies alike. As exemplified by the theme, "Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart," the campaign serves to remind us that everyone has a role in ensuring the security of data and systems.
Events, educational materials, videos, blogs, and more will be produced throughout the month by a variety of government entities, non-profits, and commercial organizations to illustrate this shared responsibility. To organize the vast amounts of information, the month is divided into themed weeks with a focus on the threat of phishing and a push to increase interest in cybersecurity careers:
Recent security breaches via software have made supply chain security a priority across government. No longer is it enough to build security into a solution; now every product that is part of that solution is being examined for its security and risk. In response, the Biden Administration issued a Cybersecurity Executive Order that aims to provide more control over the content of code that comes in contact with government systems and infrastructure.
In May 2021, shortly after the CDC revised their guidance saying that vaccinated individuals did not need to wear masks, we surveyed our members to get a pulse on their comfort level attending in-person events. At that time, we found that 75% of respondents would be comfortable attending an in-person event in 2021. Size or location (need to travel) did not seem to affect their willingness to attend. Things were looking up for in-person gatherings while enthusiasm for online events also remained high.
We've been keeping a pulse on how event organizers and event attendees are reacting and adapting in response to the evolving pandemic risk. At the beginning of summer, the expectation was by fall there would be comfort with and (by proxy) more availability of in-person event options. We were seeing more in-person events posted to GovEvents for September onward and were expecting that in-person number to continue to grow into the new year. With the Delta variant and the spike in infections we wondered if and how these planned in-person events would again adapt. With help from our friends at Carahsoft, we spoke with several event organizers to see if their plans for and outlook on in-person events had changed.
The Department of Transportation (DoT) has taken a leading role in the infrastructure plans of the Biden Administration. This connection makes sense given that the mission of the DoT is to "ensure America has the safest, most efficient and modern transportation system in the world, which boosts our economic productivity and global competitiveness and enhances the quality of life in communities both rural and urban." The success of their mission is contingent on the stability of roads, bridges, and rail lines -- key elements of our national infrastructure.
The bipartisan infrastructure agreement being used as a starting point for budget allocations includes America's largest-ever investments in public transit and bridge systems. The single largest part of the package consists of approximately $109 billion for roads, highways, and bridges. How this money is spent has yet to be determined. It could very well be distributed directly to states, cities and other local governments to repair their roads and bridges. From a federal perspective, currently Congress spends around $45 billion a year on highways and bridges. This plan would add on two years of spending to be used for federal grant programs run by the U.S. government or leveraged to underwrite private projects.