Symantec Symposium: Senator Calls For Public, Private Sector Collaboration


Addressing about 1,000 attendees at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., Warner highlighted such stimulus activities as a commitment to broadband, smart grid technology and health-care IT as three of the "most exciting policy changes" he'd ever seen. He urged the IT security community to strike a balance between public and private sector collaboration and to present solutions that looked "across agencies, across programs and across departments."

"I know the challenges that exist," said Warner, himself a former technology executive and co-founder of Nextel. "There has to be a balance between public and private. I'm encouraged by a cybersecurity czar but I'm concerned that he or she will get buried [in the public side]. The real value-add can be done with private sector partners."

Warner emphasized that the U.S. is ranked 15th in the world when it comes to broadband Internet proliferation and expressed disappointment that health-care technology has yet to come much further than where it was decades ago.

"It is stunning to me that in 2009, every other industry has been transformed by technology, and yet health care ... which represents 17 percent of GDP, it hasn't changed all that much from the '50s from a technology perspective," he said.

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Warner said he views energy concerns -- smart grid and all -- as "the next wave" in technology opportunity.

"If I had to pick a future area where I saw more jobs and more wealth being created than any other, it's energy," he said. "America is not at the leading edge."

Warner said that with each of these areas, however, comes "enormous challenges in security," and he urged attendees to move beyond political agendas and understand how security advances like identity validation can aid everything from immigration issues to identity theft and electronic medical records management.

The theme for Symantec's Government Symposium this year is "Government 2.0 -- Moving Forward Together," and it includes technology tracks dealing with secure government, enterprise assurance, information management, virtualization and cloud computing. Vendors such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Red Hat, as well as solution providers such as DLT Solutions and Carahsoft, are appearing in an exhibit pavilion.

Earlier in the day, Symantec CEO Enrique Salem and former CEO and current board chairman John Thompson urged the government IT security community to foster collaboration.

"If we're going to protect digital infrastructure," said Salem, "we must absolutely share information."