On November 13, congress passed legislation to form a new agency as part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; it’s entire focus will be on cybersecurity.

The importance of cybersecurity continues to grow with the increasing number of threats and the increasing severity of attacks.

According to a recent release, the new agency will be put in place by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2018 (CISA Act), which amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002. This act was passed by the House of Representatives and recently received the President’s signature. More specifically, this act calls for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to form a new agency under their current organization. The new agency will be called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

This agency is not an entirely new entity, but a reformation of the current National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). Following its formation, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will have the same standing as any other agency under DHS.

The NPPD, as it stands, is responsible for the majority of the United States national cybersecurity. Its job is to reduce and eliminate threats, physical and online, that threaten the cyber infrastructure. Some of the other cybersecurity elements are covered by the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications and the National Risk Management Center.

This new name better reflects the actual work that NPPD does for the United States’ cybersecurity advancement. Not only does it better reflect the work of NPPD, but it also further emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity. This renaming will also help to consolidate information security and physical infrastructure security into a unified agency. There are many reasons why cybersecurity is a pertinent concern for many people. “The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, and we need to ensure we’re properly positioned to defend America’s infrastructure from threats digital and physical,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen said. “It was time to reorganize and operationalize NPPD into the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”

Having one agency to oversee the Nation’s cybersecurity will aid in addressing current security gaps. The new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will manage the online security and cyber risks of all other federal agencies. “Elevating the cybersecurity mission within the Department of Homeland Security, streamlining our operations, and giving NPPD a name that reflects what it actually does will help better secure the nation’s critical infrastructure and cyber platforms,” Christopher Krebs, the current undersecretary of NPPD, said. “The changes will also improve the Department’s ability to engage with industry and government stakeholders and recruit top cybersecurity talent.”

Cybersecurity, nationwide and at your company, needs to be taken seriously. The “proliferation of cyberattacks is causing increasing damage to companies, governments and individuals,” Amanda Kay from Investing News Network said. Take the time to educate not only your employees, but yourself on the importance of having a good cybersecurity system to protect your technology and to keep your patients’ ePHI safe from cyber threats.

To learn about how you can improve your own cybersecurity practices, join HIPAAgps. HIPAAgps provides employee training and other tools to help your health care organization better protect the security of your patients’ ePHI. Don’t delay; cybersecurity attacks are an ever-growing threat that could be devastating for your health care practice.