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Over the past few decades, cybersecurity has gained pivotal importance in the way businesses operate and survive in their value systems. While attack vectors get more and more sophisticated, enterprises across the globe are confronted with a challenge to address their security concerns in an effective, yet cost-efficient way.
This article explores these challenges, analyzes common frameworks available to manage these challenges and deliberates on evolving possibilities that may give chief executive officers (CEOs) the agility required to cope with the cyberthreat landscape. One might wonder if the information security industry really understands the problem that security professionals are trying to solve. The answer to this question is easily visible in the overview developed from a study conducted by a task force at the World Economic Forum in 2014 (figure 1).1 Irrespective of the type of threat, the threat agent takes advantage of the vulnerability and exploits it in an attempt to negatively impact the value the business has at risk.
While there is no one-size-fits-all framework to build and run a sustainable security defense in a generic enterprise context, the framework in figure 3 reflects a high-level representation. Most IT risk and security professionals would be able to identify this framework and would agree that it is a sustainable approach to managing an enterprise’s security landscape. Couple these facts with the ease of execution and readily available exploit kits and the threat grows in both probability of exploitation and magnitude of impact. Due to a sharp increase in the number of published vulnerabilities in 2013-14, many organizations had to set up emergency response teams to respond to cyberthreats and incidents. Being able to respond to security incidents via a dedicated response team boosts the capacity of the operational organization to contain and recover from the same. Cyberthreat assessments are an effective means to add the relevance factor to this overwhelming influx of intelligence information. The evolution of cyberthreat response, cyberthreat intelligence and cyberthreat assessment (red teams) in conjunction with the existing IT risk framework is reflected in figure 5 and can be used as an effective strategy to match the agility of evolving cyberthreats. The cyberthreat assessment process assesses and challenges the ecosystem of enterprise security systems, including designs, operational-level controls and the overall cyberthreat response and intelligence process to ensure they are capable of defending against relevant cyberthreats. Danny O’Leary likes to let his sense of humour out and this is something evident in his work – particularly his funny portraits and slightly outrageous caricatures.
He believes his desire to poke fun at things comes from growing up in a large family, where sometimes you need a little good-natured teasing to get by. After 25 years in New York’s concrete jungle, he now lives on a lake in Northwest New Jersey.


After a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Paier College of Art in Connecticut, Danny moved to New York and continued his studies at The School of Visual Arts and The Art Students League. Exponential growth in the number of users and devices connected to the Internet has led to an unprecedented expansion in the attack surface available to perpetrators in the world of cybercrime.
Information security is possibly one of the most vibrant areas in the IT sector, in which technical innovation constantly paves the way to defeat emerging threats. A holistic view on people, process and technology is required in any organization to make the defense strategy successful. At the crux of the issue lies the paradigm of threat, vulnerabilities and value at stake for a business.
The term “threat agent,” from the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), is used to indicate an individual or group that can manifest a threat. With speed and magnitude, each threat hits the security ecosystem of an enterprise and takes away its ability to deal with it in a daily operational regime. These teams are a new addition to the existing ecosystem and have two main functions: responding to security incidents and collecting internal and external security intelligence for predictive analysis.
Cyberthreat assessment is currently recognized in the industry as red teaming, which is the practice of viewing a problem from an adversary or competitor’s perspective.3 As part of an IT security strategy, enterprises can use red teams to test the effectiveness of the security ecosystem as a whole and provide a relevance factor to the intelligence feeds on cyberthreats. And yet you’ll find hyper-realistic Photoshop illustrations right there alongside the more sketch-like artwork in his portfolio. His family are a creative and musical bunch, and this is probably the root of his artistic talent. While only a car ride away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, he can work in a tranquil setting. During this time he started getting illustration assignments, and portrait and landscape commissions, which he embraced working in a realist style. He still paints and draws for some of his fine art projects – his landscapes are oil and acrylic, for instance - but his illustrations are nearly always done on the computer.
This is not surprising, as the threat landscape itself is constantly evolving and it demands a constant revival of defense tactics. Ironically, the sheer size, complexity and geopolitical diversity of a modern-day enterprise acts as an inherent obstacle for its pursuit to achieve business objectives in a secured environment.


When this attempt is successful and the threat agent is in a position to negatively impact the value at risk, it can be concluded that the vulnerability is successfully exploited. If the framework was working as intended, the number of security incidents would show a downward trend as threats would fail to manifest into incidents. Hence, most enterprises witness a growing trend of security incidents being reported and registered. This can help CEOs decide what threats are relevant and have higher exposure levels compared to others. So, essentially enterprises are trying to defend against hacking and, more important, the threat agent that is the hacker. They would be identified by enterprises as known security problems and dealt with in day-to-day security operations. Threat intelligence is a more proactive means of enabling an organization to predict incidents. He likes music ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Slayer; he enjoys being by the sea, in the woods and in the city too. This conclusion is supported by the facts presented in the Verizon 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report,2 which clearly shows hacking as the activity that resulted in the greatest number of breaches in the past decade (figure 2). However, recent security surveys conducted by many organizations clearly show an upward trend of rising security incidents and breaches. In fact, most activities in this chart can be termed as the by-product of a hacker’s mind-set.
The influx of a great deal of intelligence information may limit the prospects of making it actionable within the required time span.




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