Lockheed Martin Cyber Weekly

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    The Growing Minority: Women in IT & Cyberspace

    August 27, 2014 1:54 PM by Chandra McMahon

    One emotion few of my peers experience is the feeling of walking into a room and being the only woman - and it didn't matter whether I was visiting a Security Operations Center (SOC), attending a Chief Information Security Forum or meeting with Information Security leaders in various industries.  Meeting after meeting and at all levels, I have concluded that the low numbers of women and minorities working within cybersecurity and across the IT discipline is a concern from a personal standpoint and a business risk that I feel few recognize.

    The cybersecurity industry continues to grow at an incredible rate. A recent study by the organization Women in Cybersecurity found that security professionals worldwide are expected to increase to nearly 4.2 million by 2015. Although women hold 56 percent of all professional jobs in the U.S. workforce, only 25% of all IT jobs are held by women.

    As a member of this minority I am obviously passionate about this topic. Professionally, this topic interests me because I feel having diversity drives the intelligence-driven acumen behind an effective cybersecurity infrastructure. It’s vital, in my mind, to have different points of view, different sets of eyes on the data, and different ideas and thoughts generated around ways to solve problems, both in and out of IT and cybersecurity.

    I have also experienced, first-hand, the gender gap within IT as well as the challenges managers face in finding the degree of talent required within the cybersecurity community. These talent and gender gaps, I believe, can be mitigated in large part with a stronger focus on women and minorities.

    The first step, I believe, is providing awareness of this issue by exploring organizations and resources aimed at increasing cyber and IT opportunities to women and minorities. We should also examine different ways a company or organization can get involved and make a difference.

    Although women today comprise more than half of the U.S. professional workforce, only 28 percent of the Science and Engineering workforce are women, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF). What is more alarming, according to a whitepaper from ISC2 and Symantec, is that only 11 percent of Information Security professionals are women.

    This trend is not new. A report issued in 2004 by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) trade group showed that the percentage of women in the IT workforce declined from 25.6 percent in 1996 to 24.9 percent in 2004.

    A number of factors may contribute to the lack of women in the IT workforce:

    1. A lack of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) focus in the classroom.

    2. The need for companies in various sectors to better advertise IT and cybersecurity careers to young women.

    3. The need for organizations to dedicate themselves to building an awareness and approach toward introducing women and minorities to IT and cybersecurity.

    Diversity encourages innovation and innovative solutions. These are two key tenets of a sound cybersecurity platform. Next week we will discuss solutions to introduce women and minorities to cyber and IT in an effort to diversify our workforce and solve some of the toughest problems facing our industries and companies today.

    Checkmate: Planning for the Future of Cyber Security (Part II)

    August 13, 2014 11:25 AM by Chandra McMahon

    Last week, we talked about how cyber security is like Chess. In order to be effective, you have to prepare and anticipate your opponent’s moves and styles of attack before they happen. Today we will look at the other side of the cyber coin: attackers. What future capabilities do we think they will have, and what can we do to start preparing for them?

    There are about three major capabilities that future Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) and attackers will have:

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    Checkmate: Planning for the Future of Cyber Security

    August 6, 2014 1:34 PM by Chandra McMahon

    Cyber security is like Chess. You have to prepare and anticipate your opponent’s moves and styles of attack before they happen. The more moves and scenarios you can plan for in the future, the stronger your security will be, and the greater your chance of success.

    Like Chess, effective cyber security is also about making assumptions on present trends and looking back at the past to anticipate the future. But unlike Chess, your tools and technologies constantly evolve for you and those seeking to harm your networks. In 20 years, a pawn will still be a pawn, but continuous monitoring or incident response will look and feel completely different. In some possible scenarios, they may not even exist anymore.

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    Neighborhood Watch: Protecting Your IP with the Cyber Ecosystem

    July 16, 2014 4:36 PM by Chandra McMahon

    Whenever your kids go outside to play, it’s a great feeling to know that they are safe. Here at Lockheed Martin, we feel the same about your intellectual property (IP). Most enterprises work very hard to maintain the safety and integrity of their intellectual property. IP is the heart of every company. IP is the very data that makes each one of our organizations unique and valuable entities.

    Even though most enterprises work hard to make sure their IP is protected, without careful consideration of the cyber ecosystem, this protection might only be halfway effective. Identifying threats is hard enough within the cyber walls of your corporate enterprise, but as you well know, your IP and your company’s data moves outside those walls all the time. Where it goes, who it interfaces with and what it interfaces with – that is what we mean by the cyber ecosystem.

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    Risky Business: The role of Risk Management in Cyber Security

    July 10, 2014 12:06 PM by Chandra McMahon

    One of the most common terms in any large organization is Risk Management. Risk Management has grown from a vertical role shared by multiple organizational executives into a separate horizontal practice in which a series of professionals can often dedicate entire careers. But what exactly is Risk Management? What is IT Risk Management? What is a Risk Management Framework? And why is it a vital component of an effective cyber security platform? For me, Risk Management is a rigorous business discipline that if applied and communicated correctly can ensure a business continues to achieve a strategy for profitable growth. It’s also the language of executives and one that cyber security executives should be extremely well versed in.

    Originating as a business discipline, Risk Management is the process of understanding what could possibly impact your company in a negative way, and having an action plan for each possible threat. Risk Management is about mapping and understanding the likelihood of these financial threats to your organization in a manner that looks at probability and severity.

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    Responding to Incident Response: What is it and why do so many organizations have it?

    June 25, 2014 2:41 PM by Chandra McMahon

    Imagine this scenario. You’re awoken late at night by phone call. You answer, but before you can say “hello” you hear a familiar voice, “We’re so sorry to call you this late but...we’ve detected a system-wide breach in our network.” I’m willing to bet most CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) think about that happening in some way, shape, or form before going to bed at night. I know I have. And can you blame us? Just a couple of months ago a report from the Government Accountability Office on Information Security showed that the number of cyber incidents reported by all Federal Agencies rose this past year by over 10,000 incidents. That’s about a 35 percent increase in one year!

    A system-wide breach can cost an organization millions of dollars in reparations and infrastructure-loss. Just as critical, a large breach can cost an organization even more in reputation. All too common, however, managers feel that simply having incident response (IR) services are enough to keep their organization from suffering a major attack.

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    Proactive Protection: Lockheed Martin’s Blog Dedicated to Cyber Security

    June 13, 2014 9:04 AM by Chandra McMahon

    Welcome to the new cyber blog!  Every Monday, you can rely on this blog to give you detailed analysis and reporting about cyber security programs at Lockheed Martin. More than just news and more than just opinion, the blog is a thought-provoking examination of multiple levels of cyber security. And we'd welcome your feedback and suggestions as we forge ahead with this new endeavor.

    For a little information about your host, for more than 25 years, I've been at the forefront of the information technology industry. Recently, as Lockheed Martin’s Chief Information Security Officer, I was responsible for information security strategy, policy, security engineering, operations and cyber threat detection and response. Currently, I lead Lockheed Martin's unique cyber security capabilities and associated portfolio of information technology solutions including Cloud, Big Data and Mobility for our commercial clients.

    Few areas of technology change as aggressively or have as much impact as cyber security. Managing the risk of IT within an organization, therefore, often relies on a solid understanding of what cyber security is in the first place. How has it changed? And more importantly, where is it headed?

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