IT security pros, particularly those who work on blue teams doing everyday data defense, seldom have a chance to get together and share ideas on how to do their work better. How do you share best practices with colleagues in other organizations?
In 2017, Dark Reading launched a conference called INsecurity in Washington, D.C. to try to foster this conversation. The event raised some fascinating interaction, but it was a struggle to get security pros to attend. This year, we put together another strong program of speakers and discussions that was scheduled to be held in Chicago, but we failed to achieve critical mass in registrations and last week, were forced to cancel the conference.
This raises the question: How do security pros get together and share ideas to improve their defenses? What methods do you use to share information, and how do you speak to colleagues in other organizations about best practices?
The bad guys are doing it. The IRC community and the Dark Web are filled with opportunities for online attackers to share ideas, buy and sell exploits, and explore opportunities to work together.
Security researchers are good at sharing information, too. Each year, numerous conferences - led by Black Hat's events in the United States, Europe, and Asia - enable ethical hackers and red teamers to speak on the vulnerabilities they've found, the methods they used, and the methods for remediating the flaws.
For those who work on the blue team, however, the opportunities to share ideas with those in other organizations are less frequent - and often, less useful. While there are many cybersecurity events each year, most are limited to simple PowerPoint presentations by experts. There is little interaction among attendees, and even less conversation between organizations after the security pros return home to their own data centers.
If you're lucky enough to work in an industry with a strong ISAC, you might find opportunities to share threat information and best practices there. And many of the security professional associations, including (ISC)2, ISSA, and ISACA, hold both national and regional conferences. InfraGard offers some opportunities to share ideas with government and law enforcement agencies.
As an industry, however, are we really doing enough to share problems and best practices - or are we keeping them mostly to ourselves, and reinventing the wheel separately, in our own silos? Have we become so afraid of leaking information that we don't talk across enterprise boundaries at all?
It seems unlikely that the information security problem can be solved until we find meaningful ways of sharing knowledge and information about threats, security challenges, and how to address them. Ben Franklin said it best: If we don't hang together, we will hang separately.
At Dark Reading, we are committed to finding ways to enable these conversations among data defenders. Aside from the news and commentary you see on these pages, we regularly conduct original research, webinars, virtual events, and live sessions and events at conferences such as Black Hat and Interop ITX.
But we want to do more, and we want to help you to find ways to interact in a useful way with colleagues in other organizations. So we put it to you: How do you share information and best practices with others in our industry? What works? What doesn't? If you have thoughts, please add a comment to this column, or send us an email ([email protected]). We want to know how you're communicating with colleagues today - and how you think the industry can communicate better in the future.