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4 Signs Security Craves More Collaboration

New Intel Security report finds that companies look to work together across departmental lines to remediate security incidents.

A new survey released today shows that while companies continue to invest in prevention, detection and analysis tools, their security teams also want to work more collaboratively.

The study shows that companies are ready to think beyond the traditional collection of siloed products that don’t communicate or share data. They want to develop new collaborative workflows and share data among security and networking personnel across departments, as well as through the integration and automation of controls, policies, and processes.

“Organizations believe they can become 38 percent- to 100 percent more effective if their threat management and incident response personnel can collaborate better,” says Barbara Kay, Intel Security’s senior director of product marketing.

Kay adds that large enterprises believe that increased collaboration will lead to a 76- to 100% improvement in incident response. The study shows four trends of security teams looking to work together more closely:

Greater acceptance of automation. According to the Intel study, companies are increasingly comfortable with total automation of certain routine tasks. These include clearing the browser cache/cookies (43%), submitting malware to sandboxes (37%), starting and stopping a Microsoft Windows service (36%), and network isolation (36%). Companies are also willing to embrace a “semi-automated” approach in which tasks are scripted but managed by assigned individuals. Torry Campbell, Intel Security’s CTO of endpoint management technologies, points out that this is a major shift. He says for years, companies were concerned that mission-critical operations were at stake, so there had to be a human being handling the security remediation. He says the semi-automated approach may be the best of both worlds in which companies can automate, but still maintain a human component.

Working with security consultants. These specialists can add to the collaborative atmosphere by studying the security event, potentially enabling a faster recovery from the incident, as well as strategizing on control, policy and process changes to prevent future incidents. The study says that for now, smaller companies plan to use consultants much more than larger organizations.

The move away from siloed security tools. The study found that one of the forces driving the opportunity for collaboration is that on average, companies use four different products to investigate and close out an incident. And as many as 20% of companies surveyed say they use between six- to 15 products to remediate an event. Adding to the complexity: data is often transferred manually between tools, which can increase the chances of error or misinterpretation. Kay adds that tools have to be integrated more effectively in the future. However, the report points out that very often the tools companies deploy are not always deployed to take full advantage of workflow, alerting, and scripting that are available in many products.

Efforts to foster teamwork and a sense of shared IT security values. In an era of perpetual cyberattacks, companies will never have enough tools to fight the bad threat actors. In fact, the best security teams use as many tools as possible, often to see which ones work and deliver value. However, because there are so many participants in the security process, from the direct reports in the CISO’s office to the incident responders, security operations center analysts, network engineers and endpoint administrators, the report identified certain common processes that foster collaboration and teamwork. Some of these include having an accepted definition of a security incident, assigning severity levels, sharing data, and consistent communications to keep everyone informed. Applying these concepts can help teams prioritize incidents, keep them focused on the task at hand, and help everyone work more efficiently.

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Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience and has covered networking, security, and IT as a writer and editor since 1992. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio

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