By Ronen Lago
As cybersecurity experts dedicated to analyzing and researching the latest threats, we at Holistic Cyber welcome initiatives like the U.S. government’s National Cybersecurity Strategy. The strategy, released publicly in March of this year, is a comprehensive plan that outlines the nation’s approach to addressing cybersecurity challenges and protecting its critical and digital infrastructure.
As part of this broader planning, The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently released the FY 2024-2026 Cybersecurity Strategic Plan. This plan presents an ambitious yet essential vision for safeguarding both the U.S. federal government and the private sector from cyberattacks. We commend this initiative, which underscores the nation’s serious commitment to addressing cyber threats.
As previously discussed numerous times in this blog, the digital realm has evolved into a legitimate military target, where hostile governments such as Iran, China, Russia, and North Korea using cyberspace as an extension of the battlefield and an arena in which to engage their adversaries. The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has exemplified this trend. (For more, check out this article by Holistic Cyber’s advisory board member, Lord Jonathan Evans, Former Director General of the British Security Service,)
A Three Pillared Approach
The CISA plan outlines three basic goals designed to ensure swift responses to threats, bolster defenses, and embed security into the heart of technology. These goals are important because currently, all too often, cyber security is considered as an afterthought to technological development. Developers are focused on creating products quickly, often without enough consideration of how they are introducing new security vulnerabilities that may affect security down the road.
Similarly, many organizations who rely on these vulnerable technologies don’t give enough weight and attention to cyber security planning and don’t dedicate enough resources to cyber defense planning.
To address this, CISA’s has outlined three goals:
- Address Immediate Threats: Boost awareness, encourage organizations to disclose attacks quickly, and mitigate known vulnerabilities to minimize the consequences of cyberattacks.
- Harden the Terrain: Strengthen points of vulnerability and enhance resilience to reduce the impact of cyberattacks.
- Drive Security at Scale: Promote transparency and encourage technology creators to integrate security into products at every step of development from inception to completion.
The CISA plan identifies four main groups: federal agencies; “target rich, resource poor entities,” such as local governments and election systems; critical infrastructure organizations; and technology companies. All four of these groups must play a vital, collaborative role in strengthening the United States’ national cybersecurity posture.
Beyond these four groups, however, the CISA plan holds significance for the broader private sector as well. Medium to large size businesses in industries such as banking financial services, entertainment, manufacturing and more need to align their cyber security with CISAs strategic vision.
What it really means to “Harden the Terrain”
The main point of CISA’s second stated goal, ‘Harden the Terrain’ requires changing how risk and security decisions are prioritized and decisions are managed. Ultimately, it necessitates all private sector organizations with sensitive digital assets or private consumer data to have a proactive cyber defense plan. The plan must include details of how to allocate their limited cyber security budget to where it will have the most impact, detailed risk assessments, incident response plans, and other details. A well-made plan will guide the organization as they decide which technologies to invest in, which experts to hire, and which legacy systems to upgrade or patch.
This critical need for planning and prioritization places a weighty responsibility on the shoulders of CISOs, particularly those in medium to large private sector companies. They are ultimately the professionals at the forefront of fulfilling CISA’s mission. As the CISA plan states, “CISOs and cybersecurity professionals across the country are arguing for adoption of stronger controls, investment in modern technologies, and deprecation of legacy IT. Too often, CISOs are losing this argument, to the detriment of cybersecurity and, at times, national security.”
In order for them to achieve success, we need to provide CISOs with improved tools that aid them in making the critical decisions related to cybersecurity spending and prioritization they must make daily. Additionally, we need to help them effectively communicate the necessity of such spending and the rationale behind their choices to their Boards of Directors and other key stakeholders.
Our Answer – SAGE
Holistic Cyber has created a solution that aligns with CISA’s strategic plan and provides CISOs with the solution they need.
SAGE AI-powered cyber defense platform designed to support CISOs in their essential mission of crafting and managing an adaptable and effective cyber defense strategy. SAGE acts as the solution, ensuring the defense plan remains responsive and dynamic. It integrates reports, assessments, and security data generated from numerous sources, and employs advanced AI to analyze the components and create a unified defense plan that enables CISOs to communicate with their boards, stakeholders, and peers.
SAGE provides the ideal way to construct, visualize, and orchestrate an entire cyber defense plan, within a single, user-friendly platform. It helps CISOs “win the argument,” as outlined by CISA, by equipping them with the precise toolkit they need to navigate the daily maze of cybersecurity choices and demonstrate justification for those choices to other stakeholders. With this strong cyber defense plan in hand, the CISO empowers their organization to stand as a private sector ally, contributing to the broader initiative laid out by CISA to fortify the landscape and erect a formidable barrier against cyber security attacks.
To learn more about the SAGE platform and how it can improve your organization’s cyber defense planning, contact us to request a demo.