A CISOs Guide to Defender Alignment by exabean


A mature cybersecurity program is not necessarily an effective one. And while many companies conflate
maturity with efficacy, the CISO knows that when it comes to information security, there is a significant difference between the two.
Most of the time, maturity means there are systematic processes in place that can be activated in a reliable and repeatable manner if a threat occurs. In other words, a mature security program has a well-established methodology that ticks all the proverbial boxes and can easily pass a compliance audit. In contrast, efficacy means having an agile, adaptable, and creative operation where teams possess the real-world knowledge and resources to detect and prevent threats on a practical level.
So, for many CISOs contemplating their roles and responsibilities within the organization — as well as the
capabilities of their security operations center (SOC) and the complex cyberthreats that companies face — a few questions might come to mind.

First: Are we informed?
a. Does my SOC have a strong foundation?
b. Have I equipped my team with the tools, processes, and capabilities to effectively deal with current threat actors and techniques targeting my industry?
c. Does everyone on the team understand their roles in the event of an incident?

Second: Are we ready?
a. Does my team understand the unique inner workings of our business, and have the relationships with other teams, departments, and stakeholders, to the degree that they can mount a robust defense?
b. Have my team and I defined what we own — and conversely, what we don’t own — and are our
colleagues sufficiently aware of this?
c. Have we prioritized the data, systems, and users that need protection, and identified security and control factors that will deliver as required?
d. Do we all understand the most critical use cases that could impact our business?

Third: Can we respond?
a. Have we implemented the right corporate policies and documented the appropriate actions to address
incidents in a rapid and rigorous way?
b. Do we have established communication and escalation paths across the business and the senior leadership team?
c. Have best practices and processes been defined to remediate the weaknesses that allowed the threat in the first place, and is this tracked outside of IT?
d. These questions underline why CISOs today must be fundamentally focused not just on adversary alignment, but also on defender alignment.

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