Partnerships critical as cyber security cannot be done in isolation

Collaboration, partnerships and information sharing is critical for cyber security to be ultimately successful, according to two top government cyber experts.

The general feeling is that cyber incident reporting remains something that organizations do not wish to shout about because of the potential commercial impacts.

Despite the US Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act coming into law on 15 March 2022, there is a case for more transparency from organizations outside of critical infrastructure when it comes to speaking up.

“There is of course value in sharing cyber event information,” said Nitin Natarajan, Deputy Director at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) during InfoSecurity Europe 2022 in London.

In acknowledgement that organizations may not wish to share the most sensitive about breach data he said there is certainly a more “generic” way to provide useful information.

The reason for sharing being that it gives industry at large the ability to quantify the volume of attacks a certain sector may be experiencing.

“In some industries we are still selling the need for [cyber security] investment,” he noted.

With the ability to speak generically about how a sector is faring in terms of volume of attacks it provides more incentive to invest.

In the know

Meanwhile, Peter Cooper, deputy director, cyber defense at the UK’s Cabinet Office, argued that the important things is to know what is going on in the cyber world.

“My team is approachable because we know early engagement is vital,” he said, adding that for organizations it is important they know how to engage with their customers and clients in the event of a cyber breach.

With the right communications organizations are able to maintain trust within a sector. Staying in the know also allows Cooper’s team to be on “firmer footing to help” when incidents do occur.

“Cyber security should not be done in isolation,” he said.


For the CISA, partnerships and collaboration have become vital ways of sharing information in the timely manner and with the right people to help with more informed decision making.

Natarajan highlighted the CISA’s experience with the Log4Shell vulnerability which took the cyber security space by storm in late 2021 and early 2022.

The CISA’s response was to disseminate information about the vulnerability as efficiently as possible about threat activity and mediation tactics.

Through the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC), which was inaugurated in August 2021, the CISA was able to leverage its private sector partners, of which there are 21, to gain quick and relevant analysis of Log4Shell.

“The more collaboration the easier [cyber security] will be,” Natarajan said.

Alongside other industry partners, the JCDC includes the US Secret Service, the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and more.

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