From the Fall 2023 Issue

The Significance of a Global Perspective/Team in Cybersecurity Planning

Larry Letow
CEO, U.S. | CyberCX

As technology progresses and even more of our daily activities become digitized, global issues continue to grow in complexity and pervasiveness.

In our increasingly interconnected world, where information flows seamlessly across borders, the imperative for a global team and a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity has risen to a paramount level. A cyber-attack that originates thousands of miles away can send shockwaves of far-reaching consequences, affecting individuals, organizations, and even entire nations as the impacts trigger chain reactions. As technology progresses and even more of our daily activities become digitized, global issues continue to grow in complexity and pervasiveness. The spectrum of global cybersecurity issues is wide-ranging, including but not limited to Cyber Attacks on Critical Infrastructure, Ransomware, Supply Chain Attacks, Data Breaches and Privacy Concerns, Emerging Technologies, and the ever-growing shortage of a skilled Cybersecurity Workforce. This article delves into the profound significance of embracing a global perspective in constructing a robust and effective cybersecurity strategy.

Interconnected Landscape:

As previously emphasized, the digital landscape transcends geographical boundaries, and has for generations. The rapid advancement of processing power, speed, and automation capabilities have only shrunk the idea of borders even further. The origins of cyber threats know no confines, emanating from any corner of the world to target entities as easily across the globe as down the proverbial street. Hence, a cybersecurity strategy confined by regional considerations proves inadequate and outdated. A global perspective both acknowledges the universal nature of cyber threats and empowers organizations to proactively respond, irrespective of the specific region, industry, or target under attack. Possible Solution: Integrating a global outlook into cybersecurity plans equips organizations to swiftly pivot and address emerging threats while upholding the overall integrity of their systems.

Realizing the Ripple Effect:

A breach in one corner of the globe can reverberate across other regions with astonishing speed. This heightened interconnectedness accentuates the gravity of adopting a global approach to cybersecurity, both for similar organizations using the same infrastructure, and for those who depend on that organization. For instance, an attack on a supply chain partner can cascade into secondary and tertiary operational disruptions that are felt halfway around the world. Consequently, a comprehensive perspective is indispensable for anticipating potential ripple effects from cyber incidents and for executing proactive measures to mitigate their impact. Possible Solution: Rigorous risk assessments, fortified supply chain cybersecurity protocols with similar requirements for partners, meticulous incident response blueprints, disaster recover and business continuity contingencies, and consistent testing with independent validation and verification.

The sharing of threat intelligence across international borders (akin to the collaborative efforts of the Five-Eyes Alliance) empowers organizations to outpace emerging risks.

Leveraging Collective Intelligence:

A global cybersecurity strategy taps into an extensive reservoir of collective intelligence. The sharing of threat intelligence across international borders (akin to the collaborative efforts of the Five-Eyes Alliance) empowers organizations to outpace emerging risks. By fostering international collaborations, entities can more effectively discern patterns, trends, and innovative attack vectors, bolstering their defenses against ever-evolving threats. We have seen the impact of collective intelligence reciprocity in other aspects of criminal activities in the physical world, especially when information is tracked and shared in standardized formats – INTERPOL, CODIS, and DNA databases have shrunken the areas criminals can act without being tracked.   Possible Solution: Cultivating a culture of sharing threat intelligence, establishing platforms for information exchange, and fostering robust cybersecurity communities that reap the benefits of sharing intelligence that further feed the security enhancement cycle.

Addressing Regulatory Challenges:

Diverse nations uphold varying regulatory frameworks governing data protection and cybersecurity. An international viewpoint navigates the intricate terrain of regulations, ensuring the safeguarding of organizations. Devising a cybersecurity strategy that aligns with multiple jurisdictions helps avoid legal snares and drives compliance with relevant laws, regardless of where an organization operates or stores its data. From a global perspective, with the right protocols in place, GDPR shouldn’t be a hinderance to any welcomed partner, and it can even highlight the effectiveness that is still empowered by modernized approaches. Possible Solution: Harmonization of Laws, nurturing the development of cybersecurity capabilities in various nations, embracing adaptable regulations suited to the rapid pace of technological advancement, and instituting programs for the auditing and certification of organizations’ cybersecurity practices.

The Human Component:

The human factor is well and continuously acknowledged as a key vulnerable point in cybersecurity. A global organization possesses the flexibility to balance its team’s competencies and establish workforce levels based on the availability of specialized expertise, and the impact of evolving, specialized workforce training that keeps pace with threats instead of checks boxes for compliance. Possible Solutions: Forming alliances with Global Cyber Services Firms, which provide access to a diverse pool of cybersecurity experts and professionals balanced across industry specific needs and global threat trends.

Mitigating Geopolitical Threats:

Geopolitical tensions are no longer constrained by physical boundaries; they can seamlessly translate into the digital sphere, resulting in state-sponsored cyber-attacks. An expansive perspective acknowledges that cybersecurity is intricately interwoven with geopolitics. This understanding equips organizations to anticipate potential threats and adapt security measures to address these intricate dynamics. Possible Solution: Forging International Agreements characterized by global diplomacy, fostering transparency, and nurturing robust public-private partnerships that go beyond supply chain concerns and focus on elevating security around the globe through the common language of technology.

Collaborative Incident Response:

Cyber incidents, by nature, seldom adhere to the confines of a solitary organization or nation. An internationally aware perspective champions collaborative incident response. A global response strategy, often facilitated by a follow-the-sun model, can effectively mitigate the impact of an attack and expedite the recovery process. Possible Solution: Collaborative incident response frameworks involving multiple organizations (cybersecurity response teams, legal teams, communication teams) working in unison to detect, analyze, contain, and recover from cyber incidents with a focus on global remediation and mitigation. Solutions shouldn’t be kept under lock and key when each weak link puts its peers at risk.

In a cyber-world where the borders of digital attacks are elusive, an insular approach to cybersecurity stands as inadequate. The interconnectivity that defines today’s world mandates a global perspective when formulating cybersecurity strategies. This approach not only positions organizations to predict, mitigate, and counteract cyber threats but also contributes to the broader mission of fortifying our digital ecosystem against the complexities of the evolving threat landscape. lock

Larry Letow

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