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Friday, July 19, 2024

Intelligence Sharing is Caring: Collective Defense for a Safer Nation

Cybersecurity is no longer just a concern for IT departments but a critical business imperative. Savvy organizations recognize this but given the ever-evolving threat landscape and an oversaturated marketplace, they also encounter significant challenges around security effectiveness and efficiency. Cyber threats have become more sophisticated and cooperative with threat actors learning from each other. Private and public entities must be enabled to rapidly adapt by not only strengthening traditional defenses but by embracing a more collaborative approach to security. We must break down silos between functions, data, and even between trusted organizations to become more proactive, more effective, and more efficient.

Threat Intelligence Sharing: A Collective Effort

Threat intelligence sharing is at the core of effective cyber defenses, and yet many organizations remain apprehensive about sharing intelligence outside of their own organization. There is an understandable concern about intelligence or attribution getting into the wrong hands.  Ultimately though, organizations need to make it more difficult for adversaries to execute their attacks. Fast forward to 2023 where AI technologies are accelerating adversarial abilities to generate cybercrime. Organizations are constantly reinventing the wheel to address known threat tactics, wasting time and effort. Imagine how quickly organizations could act if it was easier to bi-directionally share intelligence about known and emerging threats, including how to address them. 

Now imagine how effectively organizations could block threats if the intelligence processes that involve collection, analysis, and taking action could be automated. By facilitating a seamless exchange of intelligence between trusted cyber teams in critical infrastructure industries, we would enable organizations to execute more robust and timely responses to malicious attacks. This collaborative approach is not just about defense; it’s about empowering every player in the digital ecosystem to be a proactive participant in cybersecurity.

Proactive Cybersecurity: A Step Ahead of Threats

Cybersecurity has historically been reactive, responding to threats as they come. These traditional approaches are no longer sufficient. Organizations – especially public entities responsible for protecting our critical infrastructure – need to anticipate and prepare for potential cyber threats before they materialize. This proactive stance is a fundamental principle to a modern approach to cybersecurity, emphasizing the need for constant vigilance and readiness. 

Threat intelligence is a cornerstone of proactive cybersecurity. By fostering a collaborative environment where organizations can securely exchange and collaborate on real-time intelligence, an organization’s awareness and preparedness against cyber threats is significantly enhanced. This shared intelligence acts as an early warning system, enabling organizations to anticipate and mitigate potential attacks before they occur. In essence, threat intelligence sharing, along with the capability to automatically action that intelligence, acts as the catalyst that transforms individual organizational insights into a formidable defense network, thereby elevating the entire cybersecurity ecosystem’s capability to preemptively address emerging cyber risks.

National Collective Defense Network: A Unified Front Against Cyber Threats

Whether enterprises work together or not, cybersecurity must extend beyond the individual organization. Whether working directly with trusted entities, partnering with intelligence sharing groups such as Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs), collaboration is key to outpacing threat actors. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) in threat intelligence sharing will play a key role as part of a valuable collaboration with federal entities such as CISA. Over the last few years, threat intelligence sharing technology has measurably advanced a great deal and serves as an invaluable asset for federal agencies in addressing cybersecurity threats and infrastructure challenges and drive collective defense through public-private collaboration. The technology can facilitate the exchange of threat intelligence, best practices, and strategies for cyber defense, making it easier to identify and rapidly respond to threats. PPPs also enable federal agencies to work closely with these critical infrastructure entities to safeguard them from cyberattacks, physical threats, and other vulnerabilities. 

The growing momentum behind collective defense is a recognition that in the digital domain, an attack on one is an attack on all – it’s just a matter of when. Organizations are indeed aware of these cybersecurity challenges; however, their response often prioritizes immediate, time-sensitive tactics over long-term strategic solutions. 

This tendency leads to a scenario where urgent ‘fire drills’ consume most of the resources, relegating important but not immediately pressing security measures to the sidelines. This approach needs a fundamental shift. By sharing threat intelligence and best practices, organizations can collectively enhance their defenses. This collective approach enables organizations to block threats faster and reduce the daily time spent on “fire drills” to not only bolster each entity’s security posture but also contributes to a safer digital environment globally.

Intelligence Sharing Leads to Intelligent Action

The cybersecurity landscape demands a shift from ad hoc, isolated defense mechanisms to a more integrated, collaborative approach. Proactive cybersecurity, threat intelligence sharing, and collective defense are not just buzzwords but necessary strategies in the current digital era. The ultimate goal is to build a digital ecosystem where every stakeholder is equipped and empowered to play their part in effectively mitigating risk. This vision of cybersecurity is not just about protecting assets; it’s about securing a future where digital innovation can flourish safely and securely.

Anuj Goel
Anuj Goel
A security evangelist and innovator, Anuj Goel is a strong proponent of cybersecurity and its advancements in today’s age. With more than 20 years of experience in the security industry, Anuj has a solid command in areas like critical infrastructure protection, threat intelligence sharing, threat modeling, security orchestration, and cyber fusion analysis. His wide range of expertise in technology blended with astute leadership skills has propelled large teams in cross-functional environments towards felicitous success. At Cyware, Anuj steers the strategic face of the company and oversees its strategic planning and growth initiatives. Prior to founding Cyware, Anuj served as the Head of Global Strategy and Planning covering information security and Chief of Staff to the CISO, Citigroup, New York. Anuj was also an executive committee member of the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council (FSSCC) and has actively participated in several leading information sharing initiatives.

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