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Benefits of Virtual Cyber Fusion Centers (vCFCs)

Posted on: February 24, 2021

The unique value proposition of a virtual cyber fusion center (vCFC) is its ability to facilitate collaboration across all the security teams—irrespective of their locations—that handle cybersecurity operations within an organization. It enables them to work as a single team during threat response, resulting in lesser response times, high confidence and actionable threat intelligence, improved productivity and reduced operational costs. With a wide variety of benefits that virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs) provide, security teams can stay ahead of the bad actors. The benefits of virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs) are numerous:

Intelligence-driven 


The unique advantage of deploying virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs) is the ability to efficiently consume and disseminate threat intelligence in a bi-directional fashion. With vCFCs, security teams can share and receive tactical as well as technical intelligence from several external sources and internally deployed security tools. vCFCs have made sharing and receiving threat intel with/from threat intel providers, dark web, OSINT sources, ISACs/ISAOs, CERTs, regulatory bodies, and multiple peers a reality for organizations of all sizes and needs. 

Moreover, they facilitate real-time strategic and operational threat intelligence sharing by enriching, anonymizing, and sharing relevant alerts and indicators of compromise (IOCs) with security operations centers (SOCs) and incident response teams. These threat alerts received from multiple internal and external human and machine-based sources can be orchestrated into human and machine-readable security alerts, subsequently which can be aggregated, enriched, and shared with disparate security teams for real-time situational awareness, actioning, and decision making.

Connecting-the-Dots 


Having a virtual cyber fusion center (vCFC) in place allows security teams to deduce contextual intelligence on complicated threat campaigns, determine potential attackers’ progression, and identify hidden threat patterns by correlating isolated incidents, threats, malware, vulnerabilities, and other historical and contemporary threat data. A vCFC has the ability to bring about the cyber fusion of multiple threat intel sources with observed threat insights to produce accurate, consistent, and actionable threat intelligence. The cyber fusion technology strengthens the threat response capabilities of security teams by connecting patterns between dormant threats, thereby equipping them with predictive intelligence to strategically and effectively break the cyber kill chain.

Integrated Threat Response 


Traditionally, SOCs just focus on incidents that are considered a prerequisite to the response. Due to its reactive nature, such incident management security models are no longer effective in today’s complex threat environment where response time is a critical variable. Moving beyond mere incident management to tackling all kinds of threats including malware, vulnerabilities, threat actors, incidents, and campaigns, virtual cyber fusion centers provide a proactive approach to dealing with threats. The combination of cyber fusion with advanced orchestration and automation capabilities allows security teams to stay ahead of rising cyber threats impacting enterprises in real-time. These capabilities can reduce the risk of malware infection by monitoring malware-related activities and analyzing detection parameters for tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and indicators of compromise (IOCs). The incident response teams can identify and trace threat actor footprints by mapping their TTPs against recently reported and historical incidents using frameworks such as MITRE’s ATT&CK Navigator.

Environment-Agnostic Security Orchestration 


While some security tools are cloud-based, others are deployed in on-premise environments. Due to their presence in different environments, orchestrating and automating those security tools and technologies without exposing their networks becomes a challenging task for security teams. A virtual cyber fusion center (vCFC) addresses this challenge by providing cross-environment security orchestration automation and response (SOAR) capabilities and offers a unique ability to orchestrate across multiple deployment environments. This bridges the operational gap between the security workflows established between on-premise deployed security solutions and cloud applications. By leveraging environment-agnostic cyber fusion technology, organizations with on-premise deployments can leverage the SOAR capabilities in tandem with their applications deployed on the cloud. 

Structured Threat Intelligence Sharing (STIX/TAXII)


Virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs) leverage structured information sharing standards such as STIX/TAXII to normalize aggregated structured and unstructured threat data and automate threat intelligence sharing with partner organizations from trusted sharing communities. Large enterprises can establish extended security perimeter by sharing structured threat intelligence with their vendors and peers. Furthermore, managed security service providers (MSSPs) and computer emergency response teams (CERTs) can also ensure end-to-end threat intelligence automation with their clients and constituents owing to the benefits of structured sharing standards. By fostering the adoption of common information sharing standards such as STIX, the cyber fusion technology makes threat intelligence sharing more extensible and readable. The technology improves security teams with the interoperability to aggregate and communicate threat data with other security teams thereby promoting automated collective defense. Furthermore, sharing information in a structured format also allows collaborating security teams to create a common threat intel lake which is critical for confidence scoring of threat data for deriving actionable and relevant intelligence. 

Automated Security Operations (SecOps) 


Virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs) are designed to bring together different teams within an organization to enhance threat intelligence, speed up incident response, and lower organizational costs. Cyber fusion allows security teams to initiate their automation and orchestration efforts by utilizing automated playbooks, which can be customized as per the specific workflows. By building virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs), teams can benefit from scalable and integrated management of their security operations (SecOps). In an integrated manner, virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs) connect threat investigation, triaging, and alerting via an efficient, automated process. Moreover, they enable enterprises, MSSPs, and CERTs to modularize their solutions by installing distinct, integrated modules for incident response, threat intelligence automation, and security orchestration vis a vis their level of security maturity. By setting up virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs), organizations can also eliminate the need for investing in separate security orchestration layers for disparate security tools and instead rely on a common, unified, and singular security orchestration gateway for all security technologies, thereby significantly reducing their operational costs. 

Collective Defense and Meaningful Collaboration


A virtual cyber fusion center (vCFC) enables organizations to collaborate through real-time strategic as well as technical threat intelligence sharing and provide a collaboration-driven response to common threats. This smoothens the security collaboration between large enterprises, CERTs, MSSPs, and government agencies with their vendors, peers, constituents, and clients as the case may be. vCFCs also foster pan organization collective defense at the micro-level by bringing in their disparate security teams including but not limited to security operations, incident response, threat intelligence, vulnerability management, and threat hunting on a common platform, thereby facilitating the exchange of functional specializations and putting across a common collaborative defense against threat actors. This level of organizational collaboration across all security units for detecting, managing, and responding to threats equips security teams with resilience and control. With virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs), organizations can channelize their strengths and exhibit a collective defense approach against advanced threat actors.

Predictive Intelligence


Today’s security teams employ a wide range of tools, making the threat response process complex and time-consuming. Due to such complexity, useful threat information often remains in silos within different tools as they do not communicate with each other. Virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs) eliminate this hurdle by fusing together threat data from all the deployed security tools with externally ingested intelligence and trusted enrichment threat databases like VirusTotal. As a result, organizations are able to deduce and operationalize predictive and actionable intelligence.

Operational Efficiency


Often, existing security tools within an organization perform similar functions. Integrating such tools into virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs) allows security teams to identify and eliminate redundancies and make the most of their tools, processes, and people. This improves the overall efficiency of an organization via faster and smarter actions. 

Reduced Costs


Virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs) allow all the security teams to work as a single entity with shared goals, orchestrating people, processes, and tools to improve threat intelligence, accelerate incident response, minimize risks, and lower costs. The capability of virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs) to integrate several systems into their framework helps to lower costs and improve efficiency. 

Improved Productivity


With the help of virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs), security teams can collect and correlate threat information in an automated fashion from a wide range of sources to simplify complex threat intelligence and attacker TTPs. This allows them to proactively examine threats and understand the exact adversary behavior, thereby eliminating manual work and improving overall productivity.

Faster Response Time


By using a built-in playbook library with the ability to customize playbooks based on threat observations, security teams are able to respond faster. With the help of virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs), they can manage multiple related incidents using a single solution by leveraging advanced nested playbooks and workflow automation to speed up response time.

The Bottom Line


To address today’s complex cybersecurity landscape, security teams leverage different tools and technologies, aiming for a robust security posture. Taking a strategic approach to unifying disparate tools, teams, and processes, organizations are building virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs). Whether remotely-located or present in different geographies, security teams can stay ahead of threats by streamlining threat intelligence sharing, incident response, security automation and orchestration (SOAR) with virtual cyber fusion centers (vCFCs).

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