Sharing is caring: collaboration and communication in cyber (Guest blog by QA Ltd)
Those of you that work in technology, regardless of the specific area, all share the common language of security concerns. These are even more prevalent as the world becomes more digital and more connected. Whether people are collaborating with others in the next room, or across the globe, they can now work and play together seamlessly. However, this level of collaboration does yet not exist within the security teams that protect our online world. Throughout my career I have found that security teams are siloed and rarely communicate with their peers or wider workforce. If we are going to stay ahead of the threat landscape, it is time for this to change.
As risk increases, collaboration becomes more important.
The cyber security landscape is changing faster that ever, as hackers take advantage of new technologies and global events for nefarious means. The pandemic saw soaring numbers of cyber attacks around the world. This was driven by digitalisation which provided cyber criminals with new access points to the IT systems of business and governments alike. We are now at a point where almost a third of UK businesses experience weekly breaches and this is only set to increase.
The reality is that cyber is an endless game; by the time we have bolstered our defences the enemy has already moved on to new attack vectors. This is why, in security, the lone ranger act will never work. Teamwork is the only way to pre-empt problems and keep pace with attacks. Sadly, cyber analysts are still not skilled in the art of collaboration and teamwork. But to make headway against cyber-villains, the good guys must band together.
The Importance of communication in cyber
Sharing information is a critical part of creating an effective global cyber community. Cyber team members should be communicating not only among themselves, but also with the wider company. Actively sharing challenges and solutions reduces repetition, improves productivity, and simplifies operations. Collaboration also means team members feel less pressured, there is a noticeable reduction in burnout and time to think proactively about security strategy.
At times, information sharing needs to stretch beyond the organisation and include collaboration with other companies, regulators, and even government organisations. When it comes to areas such as national security or protecting critical infrastructure, shared problem solving can make our online and offline lives safer.
Thankfully, governmental organisations across the globe are beginning to recognise the importance of collaboration in cyber. For example, the UK Government highlighted collaboration as a core pillar for strengthening the country’s cyber security. But the introduction of a more collaboration-centric mentality into cyber has long been held back by a lack of educational tools.
Developing the solution
Collaborative communication can’t be picked up overnight or learned out of a book. The only way to truly break people out of their silos is through applied group learning. A human-centred approach to teaching communication skills to cybersecurity teams and multi-team systems.
Removing the team from the technology the work with, to challenge them and find ways to adapt and solve problems. This helps to replace judgement with curiosity and moves team to instinctively use collaboration to problem solve through a communicative, collective growth mindset.
This type of learning experience has been proven to promote diversification in cyber teams. In particular, it has shown that it helps build confidence for women, which in turn helps address the gender imbalance that technology faces.
Digital technology continues to revolutionise everything from healthcare to construction and telecoms. But as security professionals, we do not have the luxury of simply being able to enjoy these advances, we must also be mindful of the risks they bring. We are entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring they arrive safely and securely, and we should use every tool available to do so – the most important being collaboration.
Help to shape and govern the work of techUK’s Cyber Security Programme
Did you know that nominations are now open* for techUK’s Cyber Management Committee? We’re looking for senior representatives from cyber security companies across the UK to help lead the work of our Cyber Security Programme over the next two years. Find out more and how to nominate yourself/a colleagues here.
*Deadline to submit nomination forms is 17:00 on Tuesday 18 October.
Cyber Innovation Den
On Thursday 3 November, techUK will host our fourth annual Cyber Innovation Den online. This year we’ll explore efforts being made to realised the ambition set out in the National Cyber Strategy, with speakers taking a look at the progress we’ve seen to date, including the foundation of the UK Cyber Security Council, the reinvigoration of the Cyber Growth Partnership and the continued growth in the value of the sector to the UK economy.
Cyber Security Dinner
In November techUK will host the first ever Cyber Security Dinner. The dinner will be a fantastic networking opportunity, bringing together senior stakeholders from across industry and government for informal discussions around some of the key cyber security issues for 2022 and beyond.
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