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Federal Contractors Argue Cyber Insurance Isn’t a Safe Bet for Better Security

A broad range of federal contractors fear a watchdog report on the government’s role facilitating coverage of cybersecurity risks—included in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act—will lead to a mandate that their companies hold related insurance policies.

In a recent letter to leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, the Professional Services Council opposed a provision in the House bill calling for the Government Accountability Office to produce recommendations after studying the state of the insurance industry and the extent to which it’s tied to minimum standards for cybersecurity.

The provision—Sec. 1710A—doesn’t require federal contractors to have cyber insurance policies, but it is grouped together in the letter with a number of other proposals around cyber threat hunting and intelligence sharing that are based on recommendations of the public-private, nonpartisan, congressionally established Cyberspace Solarium Commission. 

The commission’s lawmakers—who represent the political spectrum—are trying to get as many of its recommendations as possible to survive conference negotiations and make it into the final annual defense authorization bill.  

“PSC appreciates the extensive work of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and believes that the report and many of its recommendations will significantly improve cybersecurity and cyber hygiene,” the group wrote. “That said, the inclusion of these specific provisions would require significant contractor community investments while providing few if any benefits to cybersecurity.” 

The commission proposes a whole new ecosystem of government and government-adjacent structures based on its preference for financial incentives instead of regulatory mandates. For at least a decade, policy makers on both sides of the aisle have posited that given a boost, cybersecurity insurance could perform the same role of government regulations in improving organizations’ cybersecurity practices. One way they saw of helping the market along, then and now, is to use the government’s purchasing power. 

“Insurers will require a

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Is Home Depot a Safe Bet During the Pandemic?

With fiscal second-quarter sales growth of 23.4%, it’s safe to say Home Depot (NYSE: HD) has performed quite well during the coronavirus pandemic. As an essential business, the home improvement behemoth was able to keep its doors open to serve the needs of millions of shoppers.

Its stock price has risen 30% so far this year, driven by impressive results from the do-it-yourself (DIY) segment. But for Home Depot to position itself for long-term success, its Pro business is the key.

Pandemic-fueled growth

From fiscal 2009 through fiscal 2019, Home Depot’s sales increased at a compound annual rate of 5.2%. The company has largely left its store growth unchanged with less than 50 net additions in that 10-year period, but management introduced initiatives like the One Home Depot strategy to boost efficiency within its existing store network. The company has reported positive comparable-sales growth for 10 years running.

Then, the coronavirus pandemic took hold earlier this year, closing down large swathes of the U.S. economy and at the same time creating an advantageous environment for Home Depot. With Americans stuck inside their homes, many chose to prioritize home improvement projects over other leisure and entertainment spending that has not been available in 2020.

coronavirus headlines sitting on top of 100 dollar bills

Image source: Getty Images.

In the quarter ended Aug. 2, the company generated record-breaking sales of $38.1 billion. Supported by government stimulus measures, including deposits of $1,200 made to most Americans’ bank accounts, Home Depot’s DIY segment outpaced its Pro segment in the quarter. The money not spent on dining out and travel instead went toward fixing up the home.

Professional customers

The success with the DIY customer is promising for Home Depot, but its future relies on the Pro segment. In 2017, the company began a multiyear, $11 billion program to bolster its digital offerings and

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