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cyber fusion center

A Cyber Fusion Center powered by a SOAR is best to prop up your security teams

Paul-Arthur Jonville

Security operations’ architecture is usually fragmented among different teams such as Security operation centers (SOC), Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT), and physical security teams (access to the data centers or patch panels, for instance). Their roles are divided between protecting, detecting, identifying, remediating, and investigating security incidents.

However, all of these teams and their preferred tools and technologies tend to work in silos, using tools unconnected or lacking semantical awareness. With the threats evolving, rising frequency, and worsening consequences, we can’t work the way we did yesterday in security operations. 

Agility, collaboration, and reactivity are of paramount importance to prosper in this hostile environment. Organizations need to break the walls built between their teams. Collective action is necessary to share knowledge and better prepare for the next attacks. To achieve this goal, the concept of Fusion Centers arose. The goal is to gather the relevant teams to have a holistic approach to a given issue. 

As cyberspace and the risks induced grew in importance, a new concept appeared, the Cyber Fusion Center. It combines all security functions such as threat intelligence, security orchestration, security automation, incident response, and every other relevant one, such as operatives’ or physical security’s, into a single unit meant as a collaboration space.

This can represent a challenge to most companies. Still, to us, thanks to a Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response tool (SOAR), you can:

  • Overcome the fragmentation often characterizing security operations teams;
  • Embrace collective defense to counter threats properly;
  • This is why you should implement a cyber fusion center;
  • Break the walls and bring lots of benefits to your organization.

You need to overcome information silos in your company

The threats in cyberspace are evolving at an increasingly rapid pace. More attacks are targeting organizations every day, and they are also becoming more and more varied and sophisticated.

In return, security operations had to adapt. For each problem arising, they afforded new tools and diversified their role. The goal was to strengthen their security posture and gain visibility into various threats. Consequently, the structure tends to be divided into poles which some focused on detection and qualification of incidents and others on crisis management, forensics, and threat intelligence.

On top of that, this structure segmented in poles involves a wide range of tools, like amid which are some you surely know: Firewall, Antivirus, Security Information, and Event Management platforms, Endpoint Detection and Response, Intrusion Detection and Protection Systems, Identity and Access Management systems, and so on. These tools aim to achieve different tasks such as threat intelligence, incident detection, threat response, or vulnerability management, and more.

Hence, with different missions, tools, and teams, every team tends to work independently from others, creating silos. These silos are walls forbidding teams to see what’s happening on the other side, to be aware of the global picture. More, it favors the fragmentation of goals; each one follows their own and does not care about others or the common one. As a result, information is sequestred within every silo because of a lack of communication or inadequate integration. Ultimately, the general efficiency ends up affected.

Information silos

Also, to those who would say, “just afford an all-in-one product!”, we’ve already said in a former article that we think that a company can and should go for pinpoint solutions which serve a different purpose, to the condition of adequately managing it thanks to a SOAR.

This fragmentation has to be eliminated to achieve a higher-level understanding of the threat landscape. This is only possible when all the teams, tools, and processes within an organization work together. In other terms, when walls are broken.

Collective defense via a cyber fusion center is crucial to counter rising threats

Why collective defense?

Cybersecurity threats have a specificity. One weak link can hamper a whole organization or industry. Recent cases illustrate; Solarwinds or Microsoft exchange faced breaches that swarmed across entire sectors. In other words, organizations as a whole, or industries, are facing the same threats and share the same consequences of an internal or external breach happening.

This particular hostile environment has created the need to shift the way organizations construct their cybersecurity architecture to introduce a collective defense model to thwart the variety of threats instead of following a passive and reactionary approach.

As strategists like to say, knowing yourself and your enemy is of paramount importance to win battles. The awareness of risks, threats, opportunities, and impact relevant to an organization and its industry is crucial.

However, this is not possible when different teams are working separately, unconnected to each other. Data and knowledge are being lost in the interstices between teams and tools.

In that way, collective defense is a collaborative approach strategy that requires both internally and externally organizations to defend against cyber threats.

For instance, in a collective defense model, the threat hunting team can share its knowledge with the threat intelligence team to give more intel on any new threat. This intel can further be shared with SOCs teams as actionable intelligence. Therefore, it allows security teams to gain visibility into the threats with information on different types of threats in a single place.

A collective defense system not only breaks silos within your organization but is also prone to foster collaborations across industries through strategic, tactical, and operational threat intelligence.

However, an approach promoting collaboration between security operations through intelligence sharing and coordinated threat response is only possible within a center allowing fusion between every team.

What is a Cyber Fusion Center?

Security teams (SOC, CSIRT, or others) collect massive amounts of data from disparate sources daily. However, most of the time, these data need to be correlated to be actionable by operations. A cyber fusion center makes this correlation possible.

 Fusion centers bring together multiple teams to work as a single entity with common goals and real-time information sharing. When dealing with evolving cybercriminals and security threats, visibility enables organizations to identify suspicious patterns, quickly respond to them, and mitigate them more effectively.

A cyber fusion center federates all security functions flows such as threat intelligence, threat hunting, threat response, incident response, and others into a single platform.

Reactivity is critical when attacks can bring your organization down for hours or days. By breaking walls between your teams and allowing real-time data and knowledge sharing precisely, you’re decreasing your reaction time and being more reactive and sharp in handling the threats.

More, collaboration helps to enrich your threat knowledge. One main issue with data ingested by tools is their lack of contextualization. Or, to fully understand the nature of a threat, one needs to have a dynamic vision of it. Data needs to be enriched with indicators of compromise, pieces of intel from threat intelligence, or the results from forensic teams.

This approach enables teams to share real-time strategic and tactical threat intelligence and increases its quality. Thus, a cyber fusion center improves the overall security architecture, resilience, reactivity, and prioritization in the face of growing threats.

It also provides decision-makers and stakeholders with a single source of truth for monitoring all critical data, allowing them to establish a common objective around their security functions.

It ensures that each team’s knowledge is communicated in real-time to everyone—humans or machines—in other teams for decision-making and prioritizing necessary actions.

In sum, building a fusion center allow your teams to collaborate remotely and foster a collective defense approach to better handle threats on a single integrated and modular platform-based system and drive improved decision-making in incident response.

Bring efficiency and communication between your teams with a cyber fusion center

A cyber fusion center can achieve numerous goals by federating security operations: organizations can leverage security orchestration and automation to support integrations between multiple tools. This aids security teams in eliminating the loopholes in their existing processes and quickly responding to threats. It combines and examines all the threat data generated from security tools in one place to deduce high confidence actionable threat intelligence.

Allow Automation of Security Operations
At the heart of cyber fusion centers lies the SOAR. It allows the automation of the ingested raw data across multiple sources of your organization. Otherwise, such a task would require too much work in a field where each hour and human resource is scarce.

As we’ve already said, bringing SOAR to your teams has advantages in de-duplication of alerts, detection/response time, and prioritization: more, a SOAR platform as we promote aims to ease the burden because of its no-code operating. Workflows are created by simple drag-and-drop in a friendly UI/UX design to enhance the user experience to the maximum.

In that way, a cyber fusion center facilitates cross-functional and cross-environment orchestration, offering the scalability and flexibility required to connect all the security processes across an organization. This increases security teams’ reactivity and sharpness to tackle incoming attacks and enhance their knowledge of potential ones.

Eliminate silos across your organization
As we said, your security teams use different tools and processes to achieve different goals. However, the data each team is collecting can have particular importance for the other team. Fragmented operations make the sharing of these data tedious. With the help of automation, you can streamline these otherwise labor-intensive tasks. For instance, take the path between threat intelligence and triage which usually involves different tools and teams. Automated processes will help contextualize the data the SIEMs are ingesting and avoid possible mistakes. 

In sum, by breaking down the silos thanks to automating the sharing processes, the cyber fusion center enhances the general awareness of your security teams with a real-time information-sharing process.

Enable a collective defense stance
An attack against one part of your organization or even one outside company can have repercussions for you or many people. Collective defense goes hand in hand with breaking the walls between your teams. Everyone shares the same goal. Everyone can have essential pieces of intel. The gathering is the best way to overcome the most dangerous threats. Beyond breaking silos, the purpose of a cyber fusion center is to allow teams and organizations to collaborate through strategic and tactical threat intelligence sharing across organizations and industry-wide. 

Contextualize the pieces of intelligence gathered across the teams
When combating fast-evolving and sophisticating threats, knowledge is critical. Being able to decipher signatures, to have a dynamic conception of your environment is a noticeable advantage over the too often seen static ones. Teams need to be able to correlate the data they’re ingesting with any relevant intel. Connecting Endpoints IoC with logs from SIEMs and intel from Threat intelligence without having the tedious task of manual research saves vast amounts of time and labor for everyone in your teams. 

In short, by automating the contextualization of data on evolving threats by connecting the dots IoCs, TI, and TTPs, a cyber fusion center enable teams to gain a crucial advantage over their enemies by enhancing their knowledge.

Therefore, organizations can benefit significantly from building bridges and breaking down silos in their security operations to strengthen their cybersecurity posture.

Prop up your cyber fusion center with a SOAR for maximum impact

To improve your security, you not only need to know yourself and alikes but also your enemies. To this end, sharing and enriching the data you’re collecting inside and outside your company is of paramount importance. 

However, this knowledge is still isolated among different teams. We think that we need to create a place to automate and enrich this sharing. This is the only way to improve the overall security of any organization.

Create a cyber fusion center, orchestrate it with a SOAR. Automate the operations. This is the way to empower your data dispersed among your teams. The integration of different security functions opens up the door to new possibilities and unique benefits like:

Orchestration across your organization – By leveraging integrations between various security functions and tools, your teams can build seamless workflow while minimizing overlaps and loopholes between the tools they use.

Collection and sharing automated – Automated and standardized processes across the tools and teams prepare the data collection and sharing between relevant teams in real-time.

Advanced Threat Detection – Real-time intelligence and data sharing enhance your teams’ contextual awareness and improve their capacity to detect incoming threats. 

Automating end-to-end incidents – Streamlined and standardized operations allow security teams to leverage automation to create from detection to response and management workflows.

Boost overall productivity and security – The fusion of security operations accelerate incident detection and response time with less labor by facilitating and improving the quality of exchanges between every team. It improves resource allocation and reduces costs and risks.

Cyber Fusion center

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