The Foundation of Defender Alignment: Awareness, Context, and Collaboration - Exabeam

The Foundation of Defender Alignment: Awareness, Context, and Collaboration

May 04, 2023


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3 mins

In today’s complex cybersecurity landscape, CISOs need to prioritize not just adversary alignment, but also defender alignment. The concept of defender alignment revolves around empowering security analysts, engineers, and operators with the right knowledge, resources, and environment to detect and prevent threats on a practical level. In this blog post, we will explore the foundation of defender alignment, focusing on three key elements: awareness, context, and collaboration.

In this article:

Understanding the business and its priorities

For any security operations team to be defender aligned, analysts must have a deep understanding of their organization’s core mission, objectives, and business processes. This includes knowing how the organization generates revenue, fulfills its critical mission, and what sustained success in security looks like. This understanding enables defenders to identify potential vulnerabilities, critical users, and data flows within the organization, which ultimately helps them protect the organization more effectively.

Visibility: the cornerstone of defender alignment

Comprehensive visibility is crucial for a defender-aligned SOC. This involves having accurate network topology, schematics, and architecture diagrams that allow analysts to see how everything is interconnected and how an attacker could infiltrate and take over. Visibility also includes clear escalation points across workgroups and queues in the event of an incident. The key principle here is simple: you cannot protect what you don’t know exists.

Collaboration: breaking down silos and building relationships

Defender alignment also involves fostering strong relationships both within and outside the organization. Internally, CISOs should encourage collaboration between the cybersecurity and IT teams, as well as other departments. Externally, engaging with cybersecurity peers, executive colleagues, and trusted vendors can provide valuable insights, support, and resources that contribute to robust, defender-aligned security operations.

The foundation of defender alignment lies in promoting awareness, context, and collaboration within an organization’s cybersecurity program. By fostering a deep understanding of the organization and its priorities, ensuring comprehensive visibility, and building strong relationships, CISOs can take crucial steps towards creating a defender-aligned security operations team that can effectively combat cyberthreats.

In the next blog post, we’ll explore the process of empowering defenders through skills development and adopting a proactive approach to cybersecurity.

To learn more, read the complete CISO’s Guide to Defender Alignment

Are you struggling to align your security operations with defender behaviors? Do you find that your cybersecurity program’s maturity does not necessarily translate to efficacy?

In this paper, we explore the differences between adversary alignment and defender alignment, why defender alignment is paramount for modern cybersecurity, and strategies for implementing defender alignment in your organization.

You will learn:

  • The importance of full awareness and context for defenders
  • The right information and analytics for empowering defenders
  • How to take a proactive approach to defender alignment
  • How to cultivate a collaborative defender ecosystem

With this guide, you will be able to identify the most useful and effective defender behaviors, remove obstacles to those behaviors, and put systems and processes in place that set up defenders for success. Download now!

A CISO's Guide to Defender Alignment

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