In the past, the popular movie-based version of a hacker appeared in the form of a scrawny young evil genius sitting in a dark basement. However, the modern cyber threat landscape has witnessed the menace of highly organized and resourceful cybercrime groups, often supported by nation-states, targeting both public and private sector organizations. This has created the need for organizations to implement a collective defense model for cybersecurity to thwart such advanced threats instead of merely following a reactionary approach. Cyber Fusion Centers provide the perfect model for organizations to implement a collective defense strategy in their security operations.
What is Collective Defense in Cybersecurity?
Collective defense is an approach to cybersecurity that involves collaboration between organizations via threat intelligence sharing and coordinated threat response actions against most critical threats. Essentially, the collective defense is defined as a collaborative cybersecurity strategy that requires organizations, both internally and externally, to work together across industries to defend against targeted cyber threats.
It should be noted that the concept of collective defense is not entirely new. It had come into play frequently throughout world history when allies joined forces to overcome common enemies. In the modern context, collective defense cybersecurity strategy has gained popularity due to the similar dynamics that play out with state-sponsored actors and the variety of attack vectors they use to target organizations. Organizations have recognized the importance of sharing threat intelligence and integrating their security operations to effectively nip such threats in the bud effectively.
When critical infrastructure or services used by numerous organizations get struck by destructive cyberattacks, such incidents can lead to cascading effects across a vast number of organizations and business operations. On the other hand, when it comes to responding to such threats, organizations are often left alone in their fight to ward off the cyber intruders from their networks and systems. Instead, the approach of building a collective defense calls for proactive sharing of threat intelligence and a response strategy built through collaboration within and across different organizations.
Cyber fusion also provides a modular approach as multiple teams like threat intelligence, incident response, SOAR, and others, can share a common platform and work together. This allows the teams to share their expertise easily. For instance, the vulnerability management team can share their expertise with the incident response team in containing a bug exploitation incident. Similarly, the threat hunting team can share their knowledge with the threat intelligence team to give more inputs on any new threat lurking around which can further be shared with SOCs and IR teams as actionable intelligence. With cyber fusion in play, the possibilities for leveraging the synergy among different security functions become endless.
How Cyber Fusion Centers Foster Collective Defense?
A Cyber Fusion Center unifies all security functions such as threat intelligence, security automation, threat response, security orchestration, incident response, and others into a single connected unit with the capability to provide integrated and collaborative threat detection, management, and response. Cyber fusion solutions enable organizations to collaborate through real-time strategic and technical threat intelligence sharing and deliver a collaboration-driven response to common security threats.
Cyber fusion centers not only break silos within organizations but also foster collaborations across organizational boundaries through strategic, tactical, and operational threat intelligence among private industry peers, members of information sharing communities such as ISACs or ISAOs, CERTs, and government agencies.
Benefits of Cyber Fusion for Collective Defense
Instead of being restricted by the walled-garden model of function-specific tools, security teams can leverage a cyber fusion platform to break the barriers and collaborate across different functions in a streamlined manner. By bringing threat intelligence, incident response, threat hunting, and other security operations teams under a single roof, cyber fusion provides multiple benefits that help achieve collective defense.
- Strategic Threat Intelligence Sharing - Through cyber fusion, organizations can collate threat data gathered from varied sources to accurately identify the major areas of cyber risks and shape their cybersecurity strategy accordingly. And by sharing strategic threat intelligence with the appropriate security teams, organizations can improve their overall cybersecurity posture.
- Technical Threat Intelligence Sharing - By sharing technical threat intelligence such as indicators of compromise (IOCs), tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs), and other threat data with industry peers, vendors, ISACs/ISAOs, and CERTs, organizations can increase the pace of threat detection and implementation of mitigation measures.
- Easier Automation and Orchestration - Cyber fusion centers enable organizations to leverage the power of security automation more effectively to detect, investigate, analyze, and respond to threats at machine speed and allocate their human resources towards more critical tasks. They also enable cross-functional orchestration of people, processes, and technologies enabling collaborative and intelligence-driven security operations harmonizing security workflows across on-premise and cloud environments.
- Situational Awareness - Cyber fusion centers provide organizations a unified view of their threat environment by integrating information collected from different sources and disseminating it to the relevant functions and roles across different teams. They foster real-time situational awareness of the complex threat environment while providing high confidence actionable intelligence for pre-empting security threats.
- Human-to-Machine Orchestration - Human-to-machine collaboration is when human expertise can feed into the machine capabilities for incident response, vulnerability management, threat hunting, and other key security activities. Cyber fusion helps security teams efficiently with their security technologies and, in turn, catalyze the implementation of automated processes to tackle different threats.
- Machine-to-Machine Orchestration - To amplify the response to be delivered by the deployed security technologies and tools against critical threats, organizations can leverage cyber fusion centers to create an automated and orchestrated flow of threat data and security actions across the stack. Such an orchestrated workflow ensures that all security workflows are driven by actionable, relevant, and contextual threat intelligence.
- Automated Confidence Scoring - By enabling sharing of the different types of threat intelligence between different organizations in a trusted environment, security teams can leverage the commonly developed threat data lake to score and prioritize the most relevant threats according to contextual factors. This helps provide a speedy response to most critical threats and avoid wastage of resources on false positives or noisy or inaccurate threat data.
- Multi-tenancy for MSSPs - Managed security service providers (MSSPs) also gain an edge in managing numerous clients through a single integrated cyber fusion platform as it allows them to modularize their solutions for different clients by deploying individual, integrated modules for orchestration and incident response. Furthermore, MSSPs can facilitate a collective defense for all their clients by creating an enabling-environment for threat information sharing.
- Cross-environment Orchestration - In this era where organizations leverage a diverse range of infrastructures, including on-premise and cloud systems, security orchestrating them without exposing their networks becomes an uphill task. Cyber fusion resolves this by equipping organizations with cross-environment security orchestration capabilities, enabling them to orchestrate security workflows deployed across multiple environments. In simple terms, cyber fusion helps create a collective defense architecture for all deployed security technologies.
In essence, collective defense and cyber fusion are both about building bridges to improve the cybersecurity posture of an organization. This makes a cyber fusion center the ideal model for organizations to adopt for not just surviving but thriving in the face of increasing cyber threats and demanding security requirements with a collective defense mindset.