Business leaders in sectors ranging from technology to insurance pledged billions of dollars to step up cybersecurity efforts at a White House meeting with President Joe Biden on Wednesday.
The meeting comes in the wake of several high profile cyberattacks, including those on state software company SolarWinds and the Colonial Pipeline, which have made such security issues even more pressing.
Commitments range from working on new industry standards to providing stronger security tools for other companies to training workers to fill the roughly 500,000 vacant U.S. cybersecurity jobs. Biden recently signed an executive order requiring US authorities to use two-factor authentication for logins, which can help prevent cyberattacks.
The White House said Apple will create a program dedicated to improving security in its technology supply chains, including working with suppliers to introduce multi-factor authentication and security training.
Google said it will invest more than $ 10 billion over five years to strengthen cybersecurity and promised to train 100,000 Americans in technical areas like IT support and data analysis as part of its career certificate program. Google’s financial commitment will be used to strengthen the software supply chain and open source security, among other things.
Microsoft has allocated $ 20 billion over five years to provide more advanced security tools, CEO Satya Nadella tweeted after the meeting. He added that Microsoft will invest $ 150 million to help government agencies update their security systems and develop cybersecurity training partnerships. Microsoft has spent $ 1 billion annually on cybersecurity since 2015.
IBM said it will train more than 150,000 people in cybersecurity skills in three years, while working with traditionally black colleges and universities to help diversify its workforce. The company also announced a new data storage solution for critical infrastructure businesses and said it was working to develop secure encryption methods for quantum computing.
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told CNBC ahead of the meeting and in front of the White House on Wednesday that cybersecurity was “the topic of the decade”. He said he hoped for better coordination between the public and private sectors emerging from the meeting and said IBM would do its part to support professionals in the field.
Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud computing division, plans to provide account holders with free multifactor authentication devices to better protect their data. There are also plans to offer “safety awareness training” to organizations and individuals.
A spokesman for financial services firm TIAA pointed to several ongoing initiatives being taken to train more cybersecurity workers. This includes a partnership with New York University that enables TIAA employees to complete a fully reimbursed master’s degree in cybersecurity.
Leaving the White House, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called the meeting “a very productive, collaborative discussion.”
“Hopefully we will follow up and do a good job of protecting our country from a really complex problem,” he said.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the event “brought the right people together to have a good discussion.”
Two water company executives who left the meeting told CNBC that the discussion emphasized collaboration between sectors. American Water CEO Walter Lynch said there was an “understanding that we must work together to tackle the country’s cyber threats.”
– CNBC’s Mary Catherine Wellons and Samantha Subin contributed to this report.
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