By John Parkinson, Contributor
According to one data center pro, the FBI’s InfraGard program is key to his data center’s physical security. The FBI InfraGard program was initially started to share information between government and private industry about cyber threats. After the 9/11 attacks, the program’s mandate widened to include physical security threats to all of the nation’s critical infrastructure, including businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants.
InfraGard has geographically-linked chapters with FBI field office territories throughout the U.S. These chapters meet regularly to share information on the latest threats and solutions, according to Noel Rojas, vice president of corporate security at the colocation company Terremark, and a member of InfraGard.
Rojas says this type of cooperation between the government, private industry, and academia had never existed at this level, and its importance cannot be overstated. “It is probably one of the most significant trends, if not the most significant in security, that has come about in the last few years,” states Rojas.
In addition to meetings and online forums, InfraGard has a secure Web site where information is posted regarding the latest threat advisories. One benefit of the site is that members can receive alerts on mobile communication devices about situations that need immediate attention, says Rojas. For example, if there is a regional or national alert, members would receive an email on their Blackberry advising them to sign in to their accounts to view the message.
Separately, but not mutually exclusive to this is the ongoing trend of downsizing the federal government’s traditional duties and responsibilities by outsourcing—including holding its confidential data. “It is estimated that 85% of the nation’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by private industry,” says Rojas.
With so much data and infrastructure out of the federal government’s hands, the hope and the plan is that programs like InfraGard can open up the communication channels between the public and private sectors and keep the latter in the loop about potential threats and its vulnerabilities.
Click here to sign up for InfraGard and find your local chapter.