Going the Last Mile: Connecting IT and Security for Improved Cyber Readiness

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As new and advanced cyber threats emerge, keeping businesses safe is a team sport. At the center is IT and security, two critical lynchpins in defending, preserving, and driving daily operations. Yet, despite their overlapping charters and inherent dependencies, some are still being caught flat-footed when preparing for and responding to cyber threats. While the last decade has seen considerable progress in removing organizational silos, driving transparency, and forging joint processes between these departments, experts suggest that optimizing and improving the ‘last mile’ can mean all the difference in your ability to remain risk-ready.

Create a Shared Vision

From cybersecurity to digital transformation, technology teams have a lot to tackle. Unfortunately, traditional departmental structures may have created organizational boundaries with narrow swim lanes. This often results in critical IT and security stakeholders being siloed, collaborating on a project-by-project basis, or worse, only coming together when facing an incident. Cyber readiness in the digital age requires preparedness and strategic alignment throughout. Analysts and industry experts believe an effective partnership between IT and security breeds better insight and cyber outcomes—unlocking joint synergies that decentralize skills, optimize talent, and create shared processes that organically connect departments and improve cyber readiness.

Identify the Gaps

While IT and security depend upon one another for success, each holds specific responsibilities in driving resiliency, compliance, and risk mitigation. These unique responsibilities have sometimes led to the adoption of disparate tools, processes, and approaches; all of which can contribute to latencies and inefficiencies between groups. Rather than focusing on your department’s role in cyber readiness, best practices promote shifting this mindset to examine how it integrates, meshes with, and enriches a broader set of workflows. By identifying overlap and cross-departmental dependencies, businesses can eliminate blind spots and create better connective tissue with counterparts. This may require organizations to build in proper telemetry or adopt shared tools that improve visibility, accelerate response times, and ensure complementary countermeasures across both IT and security.

Adapt and Evolve

Modern businesses are anything but static. From investments in bleeding-edge AI tools to newly adopted clouds, today’s organizations are fast-paced, highly fluid, and under a constant state of change. This results in a lot of ground to cover (and protect). One weak link creates areas of exposure for adversaries, drastically impacting how businesses safeguard themselves from emerging threats. Industry practitioners believe that future-proofing your cyber resiliency program requires the flexibility to change and evolve with your business. Whether refactoring cyber defenses to account for ongoing investments to harnessing new tools that keep pace with emerging threats, cyber success is contingent upon security and IT teams adapting to their evolving environment.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Cyber readiness is often determined by the ability to not only see but respond to an incident. Containing threats, minimizing their damage, and resuming operations requires constant collaboration and focus between IT and security. Yet, despite significant investment in establishing joint processes, playbooks, and communication plans, experts suggest that it’s only half of the battle. Industry leaders stress that routinely testing and validating the effectiveness of your incident response program is fundamental to success. Best practices recommend conducting dry runs quarterly to ensure cross-departmental responsibilities are clear, tools are properly implemented and functioning as expected, escalation paths are present, and points of failure have been removed. This also provides new and existing stakeholders critical experience handling cyber threats outside live scenarios.

In short, the journey towards enhanced cyber readiness is a continuous process. As we navigate our ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, it’s evident that success requires seamless collaboration between IT and security. Bridging this departmental gap not only removes rigid organizational silos but optimizes the ‘last mile’ to fortify cyber defenses, improve agility, and enhance overall readiness for better business outcomes.

  1. Gartner, Fusion Teams: A New Model for Digital Delivery
  2. GuidePoint, Cyber Fusion Center vs SOC
  3. BlueVoyant, Incident Response Plan: Steps and 8 Critical Considerations