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Defending critical infrastructure is imperative

February 1st, 2019 No comments

The Cybersecurity Tech Accords upcoming webinar and the importance of public-private partnership

Today, cyberattacks from increasingly sophisticated actors threaten organizations across every sector, and whether a Fortune 500 company or a local bakery, organizations of all sizes need to take steps to limit the dangers posed by these threats. This is the core of cybersecurity risk managementunderstanding potential threats and actively working to mitigate them. But while organizations large and small should protect themselves against such threats, the owners and operators of critical infrastructure have a unique additional obligation to understand risks and improve their cyber resilience in the interests of the communities, and even whole societies, that rely on their industries.

Critical Infrastructure refers to the industries and institutions whose continued operation is necessary for the security and stability of a society. Energy, water, and healthcare sectors are often deemed critical infrastructure, as are essential government organizations, transportation sectors, and even entire elections systems. The organizations that own and operate this infrastructure have a responsibility to keep it up and, running in the face of any challenge, require even more careful attention to security, particularly cybersecurity.

It is with this responsibility in mind that we are excited for the upcoming webinar from the senior malware researcher at the IT security firm, ESET, on the latest and most potent cyberthreats to critical infrastructure. The webinar is free to attend and will be hosted by the Cybersecurity Tech Accord on February 4, 2019.

As a signatory to the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, Microsoft is glad to see this diverse coalition of technology companies taking time to address this important issue and highlight the most significant cyberthreats to critical infrastructure. These are the types of challenges that the tech industry should be working collaboratively to address. In fact, Microsoft recently published a white paper titled Risk Management for Cybersecurity: Security Baselines on how policies can improve critical infrastructure protection by establishing outcome-focused security baselines. Such policies mandate how secure critical infrastructure systems must be while allowing industry to innovate and evolve their approaches as necessary to achieve those goals.

Critical infrastructure protection requires cooperation between the public and private sectors because, while the resilience of these sectors is a national security priority, the critical infrastructure itself is most often owned and operated by private industry and dependent on the technologies that are developed and maintained by private companies. In this dynamic, governments play an indispensable role in identifying security needs and standards for success, while industry understands its own technology and how to best meet security objectives.

The benefits of this collaboration are highlighted in the recently published report by the Organization of American States (OAS), developed in partnership with Microsoft, Critical Infrastructure Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean 2018. The report is a tremendous resource for policymakers in the region, as OAS was able to acutely identify the cybersecurity priorities and challenges of its Latin American and the Caribbean member states, while Microsoft was able to provide technical insights on how to best enable critical infrastructure owners and operators to protect their systems based on those priorities.

The upcoming webinar from ESET will doubtlessly shed additional light on the ever-changing nature of cybersecurity threats, especially as they relate to critical infrastructure, further underscoring the importance of cooperative relationships between sectors moving forward. We invite you to attend the live event; and for those who cannot attend on February 4, 2019, the webinar will be recorded and made available on the Cybersecurity Tech Accord website in the days that follow.

For a full list of upcoming webinars, and to access previous sessions on demand, visit the Cybersecurity Tech Accord website.

The post Defending critical infrastructure is imperative appeared first on Microsoft Secure.

Categories: cybersecurity Tags:

Defending critical infrastructure is imperative

February 1st, 2019 No comments

The Cybersecurity Tech Accords upcoming webinar and the importance of public-private partnership

Today, cyberattacks from increasingly sophisticated actors threaten organizations across every sector, and whether a Fortune 500 company or a local bakery, organizations of all sizes need to take steps to limit the dangers posed by these threats. This is the core of cybersecurity risk managementunderstanding potential threats and actively working to mitigate them. But while organizations large and small should protect themselves against such threats, the owners and operators of critical infrastructure have a unique additional obligation to understand risks and improve their cyber resilience in the interests of the communities, and even whole societies, that rely on their industries.

Critical Infrastructure refers to the industries and institutions whose continued operation is necessary for the security and stability of a society. Energy, water, and healthcare sectors are often deemed critical infrastructure, as are essential government organizations, transportation sectors, and even entire elections systems. The organizations that own and operate this infrastructure have a responsibility to keep it up and, running in the face of any challenge, require even more careful attention to security, particularly cybersecurity.

It is with this responsibility in mind that we are excited for the upcoming webinar from the senior malware researcher at the IT security firm, ESET, on the latest and most potent cyberthreats to critical infrastructure. The webinar is free to attend and will be hosted by the Cybersecurity Tech Accord on February 4, 2019.

As a signatory to the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, Microsoft is glad to see this diverse coalition of technology companies taking time to address this important issue and highlight the most significant cyberthreats to critical infrastructure. These are the types of challenges that the tech industry should be working collaboratively to address. In fact, Microsoft recently published a white paper titled Risk Management for Cybersecurity: Security Baselines on how policies can improve critical infrastructure protection by establishing outcome-focused security baselines. Such policies mandate how secure critical infrastructure systems must be while allowing industry to innovate and evolve their approaches as necessary to achieve those goals.

Critical infrastructure protection requires cooperation between the public and private sectors because, while the resilience of these sectors is a national security priority, the critical infrastructure itself is most often owned and operated by private industry and dependent on the technologies that are developed and maintained by private companies. In this dynamic, governments play an indispensable role in identifying security needs and standards for success, while industry understands its own technology and how to best meet security objectives.

The benefits of this collaboration are highlighted in the recently published report by the Organization of American States (OAS), developed in partnership with Microsoft, Critical Infrastructure Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean 2018. The report is a tremendous resource for policymakers in the region, as OAS was able to acutely identify the cybersecurity priorities and challenges of its Latin American and the Caribbean member states, while Microsoft was able to provide technical insights on how to best enable critical infrastructure owners and operators to protect their systems based on those priorities.

The upcoming webinar from ESET will doubtlessly shed additional light on the ever-changing nature of cybersecurity threats, especially as they relate to critical infrastructure, further underscoring the importance of cooperative relationships between sectors moving forward. We invite you to attend the live event; and for those who cannot attend on February 4, 2019, the webinar will be recorded and made available on the Cybersecurity Tech Accord website in the days that follow.

For a full list of upcoming webinars, and to access previous sessions on demand, visit the Cybersecurity Tech Accord website.

The post Defending critical infrastructure is imperative appeared first on Microsoft Secure.

Categories: cybersecurity Tags:

CISO series: Talking cybersecurity with the board of directors

January 31st, 2019 No comments

In todays threat landscape, boards of directors are more interested than ever before in their company’s cybersecurity strategy. If you want to maintain a boards confidence, you cant wait until after an attack to start talking to them about how you are securing the enterprise. You need to engage them in your strategy early and oftenwith the right level of technical detail, packaged in a way that gives the board exactly what they need to know, when they need to know it.

Cyberattacks have increased in frequency and size over the years, making cybersecurity as fundamental to the overall health of the business as financial and operational controls. Todays boards of directors know this, and they are asking their executive teams to provide more transparency on how their company manages cybersecurity risks. If you are a technology leader responsible for security, achieving your goals often includes building alignment with the board.

Bret Arsenault, corporate vice president and chief information security officer (CISO) for Microsoft, was a recent guest on our CISO Spotlight Series, where he shared several of his learnings on building a relationship with the board of directors. Weve distilled them down to the following three best practices:

  • Use the boards time effectively.
  • Keep the board educated on the state of cybersecurity.
  • Speak to the boards top concerns.

Use the boards time effectively

Members of your board come from a variety of different backgrounds, and they are responsible for all aspects of risk management for the business, not just security. Some board members may track the latest trends in security, but many wont. When its time to share your security update, you need to cut through all the other distractions and land your message. This means you will want to think almost as much about how you are going to share your information as what you are going to share, keeping in mind the following tips:

  • Be concise.
  • Avoid technical jargon.
  • Provide regular updates.

This doesnt mean you should dumb down your report or avoid important technical information. It means you need to adequately prepare. It may take several weeks to analyze internal security data, understand key trends, and distill it down to a 10-page report that can be presented in 30 to 60 minutes. Quarterly updates will help you learn what should be included in those 10 pages, and it will give you the opportunity to build on prior reports as the board gets more familiar with your strategy. No matter what, adequate planning can make a big difference in how your report is received.

Keep the board educated on the state of cybersecurity

Stories about security breaches get a lot of attention, and your board may hope you can prevent an attack from ever happening. A key aspect of your role is educating them on the reasons why no company will ever be 100 percent secure. The real differentiation is how effectively a company responds to and recovers from an inevitable incident.

You can also help your board understand the security landscape better with analysis of the latest security incidents and updates on cybersecurity regulations and legislation. Understanding these trends will help you align resources to best protect the company and stay compliant with regional security laws.

Speak to the boards top concerns

As you develop your content, keep in mind that the best way to get the boards attention is by aligning your messages to their top concerns. Many boards are focused on the following key questions:

  • How well is the company managing their risk posture?
  • What is the governance structure?
  • How is the company preparing for the future?

To address these questions, Bret sticks to the following talking points:

  • Technical debtAn ongoing analysis of legacy systems and technologies and their security vulnerabilities.
  • GovernanceAn accounting of how security practices and tools measure up against the security model the company is benchmarked against.
  • Accrued liabilityA strategy to future-proof the company to avoid additional debts and deficits.

When it comes to effectively working with the board and other executives across your organization, a CISO should focus on four primary functions: manage risk, oversee technical architecture, implement operational efficiency, and most importantly, enable the business. In the past, CISOs were completely focused on technical architecture. Good CISOs today, and those who want to be successful in the future, understand that they need to balance all four responsibilities.

Learn more

Be sure to check out the interview with Bret in Part 1 of the CISO Spotlight Series, Security is Everyones Business, to hear firsthand his recommendations for talking to the board. And in Part 2, Bret walks through how to talk about security attacks and risk management with the board.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)Cybersecurity Framework is a great reference if you are searching for a benchmark model.

To read more blogs from the series, visit theCISO series page.

The post CISO series: Talking cybersecurity with the board of directors appeared first on Microsoft Secure.

Categories: cybersecurity Tags:

CISO series: Talking cybersecurity with the board of directors

January 31st, 2019 No comments

In todays threat landscape, boards of directors are more interested than ever before in their company’s cybersecurity strategy. If you want to maintain a boards confidence, you cant wait until after an attack to start talking to them about how you are securing the enterprise. You need to engage them in your strategy early and oftenwith the right level of technical detail, packaged in a way that gives the board exactly what they need to know, when they need to know it.

Cyberattacks have increased in frequency and size over the years, making cybersecurity as fundamental to the overall health of the business as financial and operational controls. Todays boards of directors know this, and they are asking their executive teams to provide more transparency on how their company manages cybersecurity risks. If you are a technology leader responsible for security, achieving your goals often includes building alignment with the board.

Bret Arsenault, corporate vice president and chief information security officer (CISO) for Microsoft, was a recent guest on our CISO Spotlight Series, where he shared several of his learnings on building a relationship with the board of directors. Weve distilled them down to the following three best practices:

  • Use the boards time effectively.
  • Keep the board educated on the state of cybersecurity.
  • Speak to the boards top concerns.

Use the boards time effectively

Members of your board come from a variety of different backgrounds, and they are responsible for all aspects of risk management for the business, not just security. Some board members may track the latest trends in security, but many wont. When its time to share your security update, you need to cut through all the other distractions and land your message. This means you will want to think almost as much about how you are going to share your information as what you are going to share, keeping in mind the following tips:

  • Be concise.
  • Avoid technical jargon.
  • Provide regular updates.

This doesnt mean you should dumb down your report or avoid important technical information. It means you need to adequately prepare. It may take several weeks to analyze internal security data, understand key trends, and distill it down to a 10-page report that can be presented in 30 to 60 minutes. Quarterly updates will help you learn what should be included in those 10 pages, and it will give you the opportunity to build on prior reports as the board gets more familiar with your strategy. No matter what, adequate planning can make a big difference in how your report is received.

Keep the board educated on the state of cybersecurity

Stories about security breaches get a lot of attention, and your board may hope you can prevent an attack from ever happening. A key aspect of your role is educating them on the reasons why no company will ever be 100 percent secure. The real differentiation is how effectively a company responds to and recovers from an inevitable incident.

You can also help your board understand the security landscape better with analysis of the latest security incidents and updates on cybersecurity regulations and legislation. Understanding these trends will help you align resources to best protect the company and stay compliant with regional security laws.

Speak to the boards top concerns

As you develop your content, keep in mind that the best way to get the boards attention is by aligning your messages to their top concerns. Many boards are focused on the following key questions:

  • How well is the company managing their risk posture?
  • What is the governance structure?
  • How is the company preparing for the future?

To address these questions, Bret sticks to the following talking points:

  • Technical debtAn ongoing analysis of legacy systems and technologies and their security vulnerabilities.
  • GovernanceAn accounting of how security practices and tools measure up against the security model the company is benchmarked against.
  • Accrued liabilityA strategy to future-proof the company to avoid additional debts and deficits.

When it comes to effectively working with the board and other executives across your organization, a CISO should focus on four primary functions: manage risk, oversee technical architecture, implement operational efficiency, and most importantly, enable the business. In the past, CISOs were completely focused on technical architecture. Good CISOs today, and those who want to be successful in the future, understand that they need to balance all four responsibilities.

Learn more

Be sure to check out the interview with Bret in Part 1 of the CISO Spotlight Series, Security is Everyones Business, to hear firsthand his recommendations for talking to the board. And in Part 2, Bret walks through how to talk about security attacks and risk management with the board.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)Cybersecurity Framework is a great reference if you are searching for a benchmark model.

To read more blogs from the series, visit theCISO series page.

The post CISO series: Talking cybersecurity with the board of directors appeared first on Microsoft Secure.

Categories: cybersecurity Tags: