As cybersecurity concerns expand in the U.S., many savvy New England-based firms are responding, looking to both internal and external sources of collaboration to improve cyber maturity.  Our last post discussed what our Collaborative Cyber Defense Report found. Let’s dig into one of the key issues -- improving collaboration to expand and enhance defensive capabilities.

An estimated 70 - 80+ million records are lost per year by large enterprises but attack volumes for small and medium-sized businesses in North America are outpacing Fortune 2000 companies. In addition, volumes of attacks targeting North American critical infrastructure increased by >100% from 2016 into 2017, according to the report.  Despite the risks, many organizations approach cyber risk in isolation. Companies are concerned they will inadvertently share proprietary IP or personal information when they share technical indicators of threats or compromise. Related, ACSC members have expressed concern about fragmented public policy around data breach notification, yielding a complex regulatory environment with sometimes contradicting requirements. This limits the opportunity to collect and analyze actionable data.   

To improve on the siloed approach, mandates for collaboration must come from the top -- board of directors and senior executives should endorse creating cyber governance teams with responsibilities for data stewardship and risk management. Employees from different roles across the organizations should makeup these teams. The goal of these cross-functional teams is to enable the business to prioritize on-going digital resilience as a business imperative. Two specific recommendations from our research are:

  • Organizations should hold cross-functional crisis response drills, covering a range of potential events, to stress-test cyber readiness among the executive team. These types of regularly scheduled activities help to develop formal policies and processes for collaboration.

  • Information sharing outside the business. Given the complex nature of threats, exchanging information such as threat intelligence and effective practices is increasingly becoming a must-have. Organizations can comfortably share information by joining groups that are governed by safe harbor and compliance agreements. The ACSC requires members to agree to a comprehensive NDA as a condition of membership.

CISOs and other security professionals have an opportunity to engage in collaboration through groups like the ACSC and enable their organizations to become more cyber resilient.

To learn more about collaborative cyber defense, please download the full report here.