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ISAO standards organization sets guidelines for sharing information

Oct 11, 20162 mins
CybercrimeIT LeadershipIT Skills

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I want to congratulate the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), in its capacity as the Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) Standards Organization, for its outstanding work that resulted in the recent publication of four guidance documents in support of the creation and operation of ISAOs.

Executive Order (EO) 13691, issued in February of 2015, directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to encourage the development and formation of ISAOs. Additionally, the EO required the department to select, through an open and competitive process, a non-governmental entity to serve as the ISAO Standards Organization. Through this process, DHS selected UTSA to serve as the ISAO Standards Organization with the purpose of identifying standards and guidelines for robust and effective information sharing and the widespread establishment of ISAOs. ISAOs go beyond critical infrastructure sectors and are formed on the basis of sector, sub-sector, region, or any affinity, including in response to particular emerging threats or vulnerabilities.

UTSA, in conjunction with its partners, engaged in a vigorous engagement process that gained public comments and feedback from more than 150 industry experts through online meetings, in-person forums and Request for Comment Periods for previous drafts. The results were considered and adjudicated in an open and transparent process using consensus-based development.

The recently released documents guide readers through the most critical considerations toward establishing a new ISAO. They identify laws and regulations for sharing cybersecurity information within the United States, particularly related to privacy and security concerns, and they describe the conceptual framework for sharing cybersecurity-related information that can facilitate information sharing.

As new ISAOs continue to form, the United States will gain new cybersecurity information sharing networks that will help to broaden cyber information sharing relationships. Establishing a broad network of ISAOs sharing information with each other and the federal government will change the game. If cyber indicators are shared broadly with DHS, it will drop a lot of the noise out of the system. It won’t eliminate sophisticated threats, but it will allow everyone to concentrate more on them by freeing up resources.

By working together, we can help protect each other from a wide variety of cyber threats and ultimately reduce the prevalence of cybersecurity compromises. Please visit the ISAO Standards Organization webpage for the publications and more information on the standards development process.

Dr. Andy Ozment has worked in cybersecurity for almost twenty years as an operator, programmer, policymaker and executive. He is currently the Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In this role, Dr. Ozment is charged with protecting the government against cyber attacks and helping the private sector protect itself.

Dr. Ozment’s office helps its private sector and government customers by responding to incidents, sharing information, developing and promulgating best practices, and increasing our nation’s cybersecurity capacity. In leading this office, Dr. Ozment oversees a budget of more than $1 billion and leads a workforce of over 600 federal employees and several thousand support personnel.

At DHS, Dr. Ozment has led the U.S. government’s response to dozens of incidents in the government and private sector. During his tenure, his teams have been called in to find and remove the intruders at OPM and separately to travel to Ukraine to better understand and share information about the cyber attack that turned off power to over 200,000 customers. His team built and operates a classified, government-wide intrusion prevention system and is working with federal agencies to deploy endpoint monitoring solutions across millions of government computers. By establishing policy with clear metrics and holding agencies accountable, Dr. Ozment has driven a measurable decrease in the cyber risk faced by government agencies.

Prior to joining DHS, Dr. Ozment served at the White House as the President’s Senior Director for Cybersecurity where he led a team that developed national policy and coordinated federal cybersecurity efforts. He was responsible for the development and implementation of the President’s Executive Order 13636 on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity. He then oversaw the resulting development of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. Dr. Ozment also led the development of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, a signature initiative by the Administration to improve online authentication.

Before joining the White House, Dr. Ozment led an operational security group at DHS that oversaw compliance, metrics and security authorization for the Department’s Chief Information Security Officer. Previously, Dr. Ozment served in cybersecurity or technical roles with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, National Security Agency, Merrill Lynch and Nortel Networks.

Dr. Ozment earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech. While studying in the United Kingdom on a Marshall Scholarship, he earned a Master of Science degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Dr. Andy Ozment and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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