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Collaboration: A Means to Boost Enterprise Network Protection

Jonathan Zhang

In an age where cyber threats and attacks have reached a point of ubiquity, managing your organization's network security single-handedly may no longer be sufficient. The increasing volume and sophistication of threats, not to mention the continuous advancement in attack tools and their perpetrators' skills and know-how, has led to concerns on whether potential targets can keep up.

The current cybersecurity skills gap could exacerbate these concerns. A study revealed that by 2022, the number of unfilled cybersecurity positions would reach 1.8 million. In response, security providers have widened their portfolios to offer outsourced services such as managed detection and response (MDR) to enterprises.

In the public sector, federal governments are encouraging departments to engage in public-private partnerships (PPPs) to augment their capabilities. This practice is especially critical for public utility service providers who run critical infrastructure but may not have the expertise to sufficiently protect them from cyberattacks.

The question is: Does collaboration boost an enterprise's capability to safeguard its digital assets? Moreover, what kinds of collaborators should organizations consider? This post attempts to provide answers.

Potential Collaboration Options

Organizations that lack skilled cybersecurity personnel or the tools and systems necessary to defend their networks can rely on various solution or service providers for their needs. We've listed down three collaboration types they can consider below.

Outsourcing

Several companies provide clients with either the skilled human resources or tools to enhance their cybersecurity posture. An enterprise without its own pool of threat hunters can, for instance, hire an MDR service provider to ensure its network remains protected against both known and unknown threats. Should it lack even a cybersecurity team, it can opt to hire a managed security service provider (MSSP) to take care of its daily defense requirements. Some providers even offer the services of their security operations centers (SOCs) to fulfill clients' customized requirements.

Outsourcing to a third-party provider depends on an enterprise's security requirements. The more prone to attacks, for instance, a company is, the more advanced the provider must be. Enterprises that store vast amounts of customer data need the most protection and so should choose the right providers. To be the best, the providers, meanwhile, should have access to all available threat intelligence to safeguard clients' networks adequately.

Partnership

Forming PPPs is a widespread practice in the public sector. It is, after all, a known fact that most governments don't spend a lot on cybersecurity. In place of hiring cybersecurity specialists or training existing personnel to take on the responsibility, federal offices instead enlist the help of private organizations. This practice is especially true for law enforcement agencies tasked to investigate, capture, and indict cybercriminals.

In the private sector, meanwhile, cybersecurity companies often work together to take down some of the biggest criminal operations because the job may be too big for one organization to tackle. The massive scale of the Internet also makes it impossible for individual organizations to gather all relevant information. As such, practices such as threat intelligence sharing are common. Independent organizations that maintain threat data repositories, for instance, seek the help of their users in the endeavor.

Affiliation

Another common practice is launching affiliate programs that offer members access to data and tools in exchange for sharing methods to use these in cybersecurity efforts. These programs and their owners and affiliates help companies improve their threat defense capabilities.

* * *

Regardless of collaboration means an organization chooses, one thing is sure: partnership and collaboration are critical if it is to survive in today's threat landscape. Dealing with advanced threats and increasingly sophisticated threat actors is no longer a one-person job. When it comes to cybersecurity, there is strength in numbers.

By Jonathan Zhang, Founder and CEO of WhoisXMLAPI & ThreatIntelligencePlatform.com
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