Cybercriminals operate at incredible speed. Meaning that today, defending local government networks from cyber attacks is an ever-evolving battle that never stops. Cyber threats, including hackers, proxy groups and threat actors can take advantage of system vulnerabilities within days of them being discovered, and successful techniques will rapidly spread among criminal communities. Scary, right?
With the growing number of cyber threats and attacks targeting government departments, now is the time for them to join forces and fight back. The answer? Cyber threat intelligence (CTI) sharing.
Local governments are stronger together.
Too often, the response to cyber threats is to keep quiet, and hope no one finds out anything went wrong. But CTI sharing is about doing exactly the opposite. Taking an open approach and sharing information on cyber attacks. The result? A safer online environment for everyone. What’s more, CTI sharing is inexpensive to implement and incredibly effective.
What is cyber threat intelligence?
Put simply, cyber threat intelligence is collated and evaluated cyber threat information. After a cyber attack, it’s of paramount importance to rigorously analyse all the data and info you have, in order to understand how and why it happened. The more you know about your attacker, the better positioned you are to defend yourself against them. However, in an ever-changing and rapidly developing cyber world, developing successful defence strategies is not easy, which is why sharing information has become so key.
Cybercriminals share information, so should the government sector.
It might sound strange, but cybercriminals are excellent collaborators. They work in teams, share tactics, and take advantages of network weaknesses together. It's smart and it works. So, why don’t local governments do the same?
By creating a united front, collaborating and sharing information, the cyber security of the government sector can be more agile, more aware of weaknesses and more prepared to overcome cyber threats when they arrive.
Sharing intelligence is good for everyone.
Sharing cyber threat intelligence has lots of advantages. By discussing defence capabilities, local governments can begin to understand the different techniques cybercriminals are using, so each can build up their defence capability. Working together, everyone can stay on top of current trends and emerging threats. What’s more, ongoing peer discussions are hugely beneficial and often result in new and dynamic strategies.
Learning from each other.
As well as finding out indicators of network breaches or information around cyber threats or vulnerabilities, cyber threat intelligence sharing is also about discussing strategy. By understanding what security programs other people are running or planning to run in the future, everyone is better placed to protect themselves. And the sharing doesn't necessarily have to be about an actual cyber threat, it can also be about finding out what approaches people have taken in the past, which ones were successful, and which ones weren’t.
Up to date information and shared knowledge is pivotal when taking on modern cybercriminals.
The time for CTI sharing is now.
While some larger government organisations have developed powerful cyber security frameworks, many smaller or mid-sized local governments have failed to address the growing cyber threat. What’s more, many have limited resources to put toward it.
Basic cyber security strategies are the very baseline and simply don't do enough to stop today’s cyber attacks. CTI sharing adds another layer of defence, bolstering your cyber security, whilst being very cost-effective. For the government sector, it's an incredibly effective solution, that isn’t being utilised enough.
The four pillars of CTI sharing in the government sector.
If all this feels like a lot to take onboard, don’t worry. We’ve put together our four pillars of CTI sharing in the government sector.
1. Safe and secure
Government systems should be strong and flexible to ever-changing cyber-attacks. Baseline security standards need to be agreed by all and applied across the entire sector. With a risk-based approach, the government sector can secure sensitive data, information and services.
All agencies in the government should collaborate and work together, as well as with the private sector when appropriate, and all within a predetermined framework. Everyone should understand that interdependence is stronger than isolation. Cyber security should always be at the forefront of IT policy, never an afterthought, making sure that systems are designed to be secure, reducing the reliance on fixes.
Every agency within government is better off with heightened education, partnership, communication and support. The more agile teams can be, the more power they have to fend off cyber incidents. This increased responsiveness across the sector means threats can be highlighted early, minimising risk.
By working together, agencies within government can be interconnected, creating mutually beneficial relationships. As far a cyber-attacks are concerned, they form one system. This strategic approach recognises that everyone shares responsibility for cyber security, building highly cooperative relationships across the sector. As these relationships grow, the strength of the security does too.
If all of this is sounding a little overwhelming, don’t worry. Here at CommuniCloud, we are experts in cyber security solutions and partner with industry leading vendors such as Cisco, Jazz Networks, Agari, InfoTrust and Splunk.
Together, we can create a Cyber Security Ecosystem of both technology and professional services, tailored around your business needs.