What is Security Collaboration in Cybersecurity?

Table of Contents

Need for Security Collaboration

Security Collaboration is More than Just Information Sharing

It’s Time to Collaborate!

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What is Security Collaboration in Cybersecurity?

  • Cyber Fusion

Posted on: July 25, 2022

What is Security Collaboration in Cybersecurity?
Threats are stemming from both a growing number of sophisticated adversaries and the whistle-stop evolution of technology. The recent incidents highlight that cyber threat actors have several tricks up their sleeves to execute complex cyber attacks. The complex cybersecurity threat ecosystem today lacks coordination when it comes to defending against threats. The reason is the deficit of a designated framework for collaboration, understanding of their relevant equivalents and their roles, and shared goals. 

The concept of security collaboration involved closer collaboration between organizations cutting across industry sectors to safeguard critical infrastructures. How far is security collaboration from reality in cybersecurity? While some organizations are successfully establishing security collaboration across industries, others are still figuring out ways to define it. Even today, the security processes are manually-driven, siloed, and reactive in nature, and the lack of security collaboration intensifies these problems. 

True security collaboration can only be achieved by eliminating silos at every level of cybersecurity detection, analysis and response. Real-time information sharing, cyber fusion, and automated threat response play an important role in eliminating these silos and driving a collaborative response against threats. Rather than adopting off-the-shelf security solutions, organizations must invest in innovative solutions that can foster security collaboration, as well as simplify their security governance and day-to-day operations. 

Need for Security Collaboration

Traditionally, organizations shared indicators of compromise (IOCs) and other data points with their peer organizations that had little or no context. The lack of actionable intelligence left no common ground for organizations to collaborate. Sharing such types of static threat indicators have become redundant over the years as adversaries are continuously upgrading their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). These lacunas can be filled by stressing on security collaboration and preparing for future cybersecurity challenges rather than chasing the last incident or threat. 

The present threat landscape demands a shift in the way adversarial tactics and cyber kill chains are analyzed. Organizations need to come together to work as trusted advisers to each other and leverage one another’s resources, empowering their analysts to gain visibility into threats facing cyberspace. As trusted advisors, security teams of organizations can co-develop, share knowledge about vulnerabilities, threat analytics, and IOCs as they are detected, and collaboratively defend against cyber adversaries. Such a defense network offers the ability to collaborate in a way that enhances situational awareness and creates common goals for effective coordination.

Security collaboration requires different industries to form deeper partnerships in coordinating defense actions, planning, and developing capabilities for cyber resilience. The activities must include operationalization of threat intelligence and automated threat response for more effective and faster recoveries from threats. These efforts can maximize the strategic impact of security collaboration, reduce mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR), and warn organizations of potential attacks and complex threats.

Security Collaboration is More than Just Information Sharing

Information sharing should not mean just sharing IOCs with peer organizations. Instead, it must focus on the exchange of contextual strategic, tactical, technical, and operational threat intelligence with industry peers, business partners, vendors, information sharing communities (ISACs/ISAOs), national CERTs, and key stakeholders of an organization.

Large or small, public or private, cyber threats are a challenge for all organizations. In view of the evolving threats, organizations need to unite to thwart them. Modern-day organizations are building self-responding security collaboration networks that steer collaboration with the help of next-generation cyber fusion centers (CFCs). These CFCs make real-time information sharing, enhanced threat visibility, and secure collaboration a reality for enterprises, ISACs/ISAOs, CERTs, regulatory bodies, and government agencies across the globe.

CFCs are built using a connected threat intelligence platform (TIP), an automated cyber fusion-powered threat managed platform, and an independent and decoupled security orchestration and automation layer that unifies all security technologies and processes across cloud and on-premise environments. These capabilities of a CFC enable organizations to operationalize threat intelligence, as well as automate and orchestrate threat response in an integrated and collaborative ecosystem. 

While there is no cure-all solution that can tackle all the threats, it is necessary to establish security collaboration across all sectors to be able to create a cyber-secure environment for everyone. Security collaboration has many facets. It focuses on capturing relevant insights and implementing lessons learned as a team.

Security Collaboration within an Organization

The last-mile delivery of threat intelligence to key stakeholders of an organization is a daunting task for SecOps teams. In today’s hybrid workplace where teams operate from different geographies and time zones, collaboration can be extremely challenging. In such conditions, threat intelligence needs to be operationalized and shared with IT, SecOps, operations, management, and leadership teams via appropriate platforms. Advanced TIPs seamlessly allow such threat intelligence dissemination, fostering effective collaboration between different teams and stakeholders within an organization and driving faster decision-making.

Furthermore, CFCs facilitate faster threat detection and response and greater threat visibility through threat intelligence operationalization into different security processes while enabling collaboration between siloed teams. One of the key capabilities provided by a CFC is helping disparate teams leverage threat intelligence to drive security actions across the cloud-based, on-premise, or hybrid infrastructure. From threat intel ingestion via multiple sources to analysis and operationalization, a CFC provides teams within an organization the ability to automate their end-to-end threat intel operations in a collaborative environment. 

Security Collaboration within an ISAC/ISAO 

Information sharing communities such as ISACs and ISAOs need closer collaboration between their hub and member organizations. This can be facilitated by bi-directional threat intelligence sharing platforms that connect all the member organizations with the ISAC hub, enabling them to share threat intelligence and automated response to threats in real-time driving value out of their membership. Avant-garde threat sharing solutions enable multi-source threat intelligence collection and bi-directional sharing between the member organizations, helping the members to automatically ingest, enrich, and act on the threat intelligence shared by the hub to facilitate closer collaboration against threats.

Cross-Sectoral Security Collaboration 

Historically, threat intelligence sharing between industry sectors has been limited and never achieved at a larger scale. Today, a multi-sectoral security collaboration network across different sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, energy and natural gas, space, retail, operations technology, and more can be built to share malware and vulnerability advisories as well as IOCs and threat mitigation strategies with each other in real-time. Security collaboration enables organizations in one sector to learn from threats witnessed by enterprises in other sectors and proactively take required mitigation measures and defend against common threats.

Modern automated threat intelligence solutions support ISAC-to-ISAC cross-sector sharing, enabling one ISACs and ISAOs to work together and leverage each other’s expertise in countering threats proactively. This kind of collaboration is paving the way for every ISAC and ISAO to ensure that their industry benefits from the mutual learnings gained through this security collaboration ecosystem.

By leveraging Hub and Spoke-based technical TIP, ISACs and ISAOs can receive and share technical IOCs with other ISACs in a bidirectional manner, create their own trusted sharing community, and fully automate the entire end-to-end threat intelligence lifecycle, establishing security collaboration with other ISACs.

Security Collaboration Between Public and Private Entities

Both public and private organizations need to understand what their respective advantages are to protect people and networks. Building global cyber resilience and readiness demands deeper public-private security collaboration. Both public and private sectors need to collaborate together and share threat intelligence, security best practices, mitigation strategies, undisclosed zero-day vulnerabilities, and mitigations, to effectively secure critical infrastructure sectors and assets from threat actors. The closer security collaboration at the public and private sector scale will benefit all organizations by providing greater threat visibility and help to improve detection, mitigation, and response capabilities.

It’s Time to Collaborate!

Organizations must work harder on their cyber fusion capabilities to advance security collaboration. It’s time they acknowledge collaboration as a top-tier priority and the vital role it can play in thwarting attacks. The pressing need is to take concrete actions and outline a clear and scalable path towards achieving 360-degree security collaboration.

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