Cybersecurity & Formula 1 Racing – It’s a Profession

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[ This article was originally published here ]

This is perspective from one of our MSSP partners, CyberHat.

Formula 1 is a serious business.  It takes years of expertise and practical foot work to design, build and operate a winning Formula 1 team.  It’s easy to think that success depends on the car and the technology.  But in reality, a cutting edge engine in the best car in the world can’t win a race alone. Without an expert driver and a highly experienced and dedicated support team, you just can’t finish first.

When it comes to Cybersecurity everyone wants to win the race of protecting their assets and detecting and responding to threats to mitigate risk.  Most organizations today will invest heavily in cyber security technology, buying it, integrating it and implementing into the organization, yet very few will focus on the teams driving the technology, supporting and utilizing it.

It’s a simple belief that if you get a good enough car, you don’t need to be a good driver, when the reality is exactly the opposite – if you’re a good enough driver, you can get a lot out of pretty much every car. 

Today, more and more companies are looking for fully encompassing cyber security solutions and are gradually consolidating in to Security Operation Centers (SOC)s to help manage their security issues and this is a smart move. SOCs are where Cybersecurity teams detect, analyze and respond to threats on an organization.  Their core task is to use the tools and skills at hand in order to provide the organization with an ongoing, relevant and professional security posture. 

Yet in the current cybersecurity landscape not all SOCs were created equal. It is important to understand what components are imperative for a SOC to be most effective. 

Formula 1 fact: The best Formula 1 Pit Crew can refuel and change a tire in just 3 seconds.

They are the best in their field and they are dedicated to a strong set of processes.  This is true for the SOC team as well.  High expertise and seamless teamwork are important to effectively curtail the dangers of cyber-attacks and navigate the cyber field safely and in a timely manner.  Many SOCs might have dedicated Tier 1/2 analysts, who can change tires and refuel seamlessly on the usual runbook procedures for many common or predictable cyber threats, but they are not experts in managing larger scale incidents like a blown gasket or jammed piston which entails the response of more experienced Mechanical Team or in Cyber Tier 3/4 Analysts.

These are highly trained specialized professionals with in-depth experience that are able to tackle complex unusual incidences and attacks under severe time pressure. For example, sometimes cyber-attacks cannot be detected, deflected or blocked before they begin.  Then it is the SOCs responsibility to contain and protect as well as investigate and conduct a meticulous analysis for preventing similar incidences, through a dedicated Forensics Team.  The Forensics Team of a SOC is dedicated to evaluating necessary damage repair and implementing novel  or near realtime responses.

The core trade for a professional is the old saying – “practice makes perfect”, it’s a simple question of constantly getting your hands dirty with the nitty gritty work, repeatedly executing complex tasks in as versatile an environment as possible, is the only way to become a professional and the only way to stay one.

Not all security issues are as dramatic as a direct attack but are measured in how “ready” your organization is for the when scenarios.  In the race to being secure, organizations many times fail to properly calibrate or stay up to date with internal components – whether it is infrastructure or personnel.  A dedicated SOC has an Onboarding Team that ensures that specific security and IT elements like Security Incident Event Management or SIEMs are properly configured and calibrated and that employees are properly trained to understand, analyze and act in response output.

Just like a Formula 1 team, when a SOC has a solid, strong and professional Cybersecurity team, the synergy in the teamwork ensures optimal performance and protection within the dynamic and complex cybersecurity world.   Professionalism is the key to effectively curtailing the dangers of cyber-attacks.  Ensuring a complete, professional and experienced team is what turns an ordinary team into a winning team.

As it is said “The whole is only as good as the sum of its parts”.

Register for our webinar on Thursday, November 8th at 1pm CST to learn more about how profesional SOC are designed, built and operates.