It’s clear that in cyberspace individual companies are struggling to keep up against the growing volume and sophistication of attacks, despite increasing investments. There are no easy answers to cybersecurity, but we do know that a Collective Defense strategy — where companies, sectors, states, and nations collaborate on cyber defense as a united force — is providing a growing advantage against cyber attacks.

This collaborative approach is helping companies contend and compete with adversaries’ seemingly unlimited time, resources, and relentlessness, while making the most of their constrained cyber talent pool, resources, and existing investments.

Collective Defense represents a tectonic shift in cybersecurity, and quickly is taking root. So let’s answer the very important question: “How do I put Collective Defense into action?”

Key elements of Collective Defense

As the cyber “safe zone” is shrinking every day, we can defend it with the following essential elements of a Collective Defense strategy

Key elements of Collective Defense As the cyber “safe zone” is shrinking every day, we can defend it with the following essential elements of a Collective Defense strategy

Putting the power of Collective Defense to work

By staying ahead of adversaries, Collective Defense is a proactive approach to cybersecurity strategy. What operational steps are needed to put it into action?

Putting the power of Collective Defense to work By staying ahead of adversaries, Collective Defense is a proactive approach to cybersecurity strategy. What operational steps are needed to put it into action?

1.Communicate the urgency

The key to Collective Defense is creating a business-wide sense of urgency to defend together within and across sectors, recognizing that individual entities are struggling to defend alone. It is critical for senior leaders to prioritize and communicate the need across the organization, up to the Board, as a way to mitigate digital risk.

2.Ensure foundational defenses are in place

After gaining top-level support, leaders should seek to implement the fundamental components of cyber defense. An excellent place to start is the Center for Internet Security’s (CIS) Controls (V7.1) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. The CIS Controls™ are “a prioritized set of actions that collectively form a defense-in-depth set of best practices that mitigate the most common attacks against systems and networks,” and the NIST Framework is a multilayered defense approach as well.

3.Recognize how you will be attacked

Defense is difficult if you do not know where and how you will be attacked. A useful tool to understand how you could be attacked is Center of Gravity (CoG) analysis. Center of Gravity analysis is typically used offensively by state attackers to analyze their enemy. This is a standard practice by U.S. forces. Companies can defensively use the same technique in their own organizations, as their cyber adversaries are likely doing the same.

4.Detect your unknown adversaries

Knowing your organization, the assets you want to protect, and how they are vulnerable is a great start. But you also must use advanced defenses to determine your adversaries and their methods.

5.Achieve greater visibility of the threat landscape

Highly sophisticated and organized attackers are innovating faster than defenders can respond, as made evident by the number of “unknown unknowns” proliferating rampantly and rapidly.

6.Emulate the threat

Knowing your adversaries allows you to understand their thought processes and emulate their activities. Cyber Threat Emulation (CTE) is an exercise to simulate an occurance of malicious software (malware) inside your network perimeter. By using CTE, you can address defenders’ assumptions about their cyber defense systems, which always differ from the reality.

7.Share threat information at network speed

A core component of situational awareness is threat information sharing. Without such communication, each organization has only a very limited view of the current threat picture. Speed is critical to reducing dwell time, business impact, and the ability to successfully stop an attack.

8.Maintain situational awareness

Defending in cyberspace also requires situational awareness of both friendly and threatening forces and activities. Your earlier analysis of threat avenues of approach and attack vectors can provide insight into how you might be attacked. Without proper sensors, however, cyberspace is largely invisible

9.Optimize your cybersecurity investments

Qualified cybersecurity workforces in the public and private sectors across all industries are essential for defense in cyberspace. But qualified cybersecurity specialists are in critically short supply.

10.Defend as a team

Standing alone when it comes to cybersecurity all but ensures defeat. The successful defense of an individual organization — much less an industry or nation — fundamentally requires a team effort. State and state-enabled actors possess resources that far outmatch those of individual public and private groups.

Collective Defense represents a tectonic shift in cybersecurity, and quickly is taking root. So let’s answer the very important question: “How do I put Collective Defense into action?”

Download this eBook and learn how to:

  • Prepare your organization;
  • Apply advanced detection technologies;
  • Collaborate for stronger defense.

To read full download the whitepaper:
10-Step Executive Action Plan for Collective Defense

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