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Key Principles of Virtual Cyber Fusion Centers (vCFC)
Posted on: February 22, 2021
Building a virtual cyber fusion center (vCFC) is a unique approach to amalgamating threat intelligence and cybersecurity operations into a single, integrated platform. vCFCs steer enterprise-wide visibility, minimize the time taken to detect threats, and protect organizations’ critical assets while fostering collaborative security operations from on-premise or remote environments. Based on state-of-the-art delivery models, fusion centers empower organizations to cohesively act, make informed decisions, and quickly contain threats.
The Growing Need for Virtual Cyber Fusion Centers (vCFCs)
In the constantly changing threat landscape, enterprises require threat intelligence and communication with different security teams, in real-time, for the rapid incident and threat response. Powered by a combination of machine and human intelligence, cyber fusion centers make this possible by automatically ingesting machine and human-readable threat intelligence from internal and external sources to help security teams quickly detect, prioritize, and respond to threats. They enable security teams to take decisive actions or alert them in real-time about a sudden security incident.
A cyber fusion center leverages innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to act on the threat data gathered from disparate sources. Driven by advanced security orchestration and automation (SOAR) capabilities, a cyber fusion center aids in enhancing the effectiveness and operational efficiency of security teams. Some of the more widely accepted use cases involve incident response management, threat intelligence automation, triage and case management, vulnerability management, and malware management which help security teams to stay ahead of the attackers.
A vCFC combines threat intel with different aspects of security operations—threat hunting, incident response, and vulnerability management—into a single connected unit to detect, manage, and respond to threats. This level of visibility and collaboration across every security unit provides security teams with enhanced resilience and control. All of this is made possible due to the constant flow of analyzed and updated actionable threat intelligence that is automatically provided to all units to strengthen visibility-driven security processes. By building cyber fusion centers, organizations can improve their security posture and accelerate response to threats.
Cyber fusion centers develop collaboration among cybersecurity teams and help them to collectively respond to threats, resulting in rapid response times, better threat intelligence, enhanced productivity, and lower costs. Another unique capability of a vCFC is its ability to connect dots by correlating threat information ingested from multiple sources with internal threat data and security incidents to gain insights into attackers’ tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). Moreover, security teams can proactively analyze threats, create contextual links, and understand adversary behavior by utilizing relevant intelligence. A cyber fusion-driven approach allows organizations to better understand and analyze the threat landscape in real-time, helping them move beyond theoretical knowledge.
Among other things, a vCFC fosters collaboration between disparate security teams without subjecting them to the limitations of working out of a common physical location. This allows the security teams to collaborate remotely and ensures seamless security workflows. vCFCs facilitate collective defense in the truest sense where all the security teams work out of a singular integrated and modular platform-based system to fight against common threats, thereby leveraging each other’s expertise to steer efficient decision making in response operations. Unlike traditional brick and mortar security operations centers (SOCs) which are more costly and susceptible to extensive disruptions from black swan events like COVID-19, vCFCs are highly cost-effective and productive in addressing today’s constantly changing cybersecurity landscape.
Principles Driving Virtual Cyber Fusion Centers (vCFCs)
- Threat Detection Focused: Often, security operations such as threat detection remain in silos. With integration and orchestration of detection technologies with threat intelligence platforms, vCFCs allow security teams to use actionable and enriched threat intelligence to detect attacks earlier. By speeding up threat detection, vCFCs enable security teams to predict threats by identifying tactics, tools, and procedures (TTPs) and indicators of attack instead of preventing indicators of compromise (IOC).
- Intelligence-driven: Using cyber fusion centers, security teams can consume as well as produce threat intelligence to enhance casework, give context to suspicious activities, trigger defensive measures, and track specific threats. In today’s changing threat landscape, organizations need real-time threat intelligence sharing among different teams for faster incident response. vCFCs make this possible by ingesting threat intelligence from internal as well as external sources to quickly identify, prioritize, and respond to cyber threats. Furthermore, security teams can gain contextual intelligence on intricate threat campaigns, identify attacker trajectories, and determine hidden threat patterns by connecting the dots between observed incidents, available threat intelligence, and isolated threats.
- Collaboratively Controlled: Security teams can integrate traditional and modern security capabilities into a more collaborative and coordinated environment to quickly respond to and contain threats. The unique orchestration and automation (SOAR) capabilities of vCFCs make security teams collaboration-driven, allowing them to take actions against vulnerabilities, malware, and threat actors in real-time. The inter-team collaboration enables security teams to combine threat intelligence with different security functions such as vulnerability management, incident response, threat hunting, and others into a single connected unit to identify, manage, and respond to all threats.
- Security Orchesrtration Automation and Response (SOAR)-driven: vCFCs leverage unique security analytics, workflow automation and orchestration, and threat management tools to automate and accelerate human efforts. Powered by security automation, a vCFC includes a broad-based, cross-environment universal orchestration gateway that enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of security operations center (SOC) teams via smarter and faster actions across different security tools and deployment environments.
- Human and Machine Intelligence: Capable of leveraging human intelligence, vCFCs automatically ingest human-readable cyber threat intelligence from both internal and external sources to rapidly detect, prioritize, and respond to threats. They empower security teams to take swift actions or alert employees in real-time. In addition to human intelligence, a vCFC leverages machine intelligence to automatically ingest, examine, coordinate, and take action on the technical and tactical threat data collected from various sources.
- Lower Costs: vCFCs enable all the security teams to work as a single entity with collective goals, integrating people, processes, and tools to enhance threat intelligence, speed up incident response, reduce risks, and lower costs. The ability of vCFCs to integrate disparate systems into their framework helps security teams to lower costs as compared to brick-and-mortar fusion centers.
- Ability to Effectively Run Security Operations from Remote Environments: A vCFC has multiple teams of different disciplines and is not subjected to the limitations of working out of a common physical location. vCFCs allow teams to collaborate for threat information sharing in a timely manner. Whether located remotely or at different geography, security teams can effectively run security operations in real-time, orchestrating and automating ingestion, analysis, and sharing of contextualized threat intelligence.
- Threat Visibility at All Levels of Security Governance: Threat defenders and red teams can hunt for exploitable weaknesses, and deploy mitigating controls to close gaps through vCFCs. The capability to break down silos with vCFCs allows security analysts, SOC managers, and CISOs to gain complete visibility into the threat landscape in a single place. Moreover, vCFCs provide extensive KPI/KRI and customizable visualization dashboards for everyone responsible for security governance at different levels, including security analysts, SOC managers, and CISOs.
Why are Organizations Building Virtual Cyber Fusion Centers (vCFCs)?
Today, there are a plethora of security tools and technologies constituting the security stack of organizations. However, by integrating them into vCFCs, security teams can identify and eliminate redundancies. This improves the overall efficiency of organizations via quicker and more focused strategic and tactical actions. The security orchestration and automation capabilities of vCFCs foster collaboration between different teams, enabling them to take decisive actions against threat actors, malware, and vulnerabilities in real-time.
As vCFCs allow security teams to work with collective goals, thereby bringing together people, processes, and technologies to improve threat intelligence, speed up incident response, lower risks, improve productivity, and reduce costs. When security teams come together to respond to threats, it results in a reduced mean time to respond (MTTR). With the help of vCFCs, organizations can address several incidents and threats using a single solution by employing appropriate threat intelligence ingestion and organized response workflow automation to speed up response time.