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.
According to a March 2011 whitepaper by the Department of Homeland Security, a ‘cyber ecosystem’ is defined by the interaction of a “variety of diverse participants – private firms, non-profits, governments, individuals, processes, and cyber devices (computers, software, and communications technologies) – that interact for multiple purposes…” with your organization’s intellectual property.
At Lockheed Martin, we like to simplify the definition so that it’s clear to see all the moving parts. On one side of the spectrum there’s your corporate enterprise network that enables your business. Companies also produce products and services – and those products and services need to be cyber-enabled and cyber-protected. Then, on the other side there are the organizations that you do business with, such as partners, suppliers, vendors, etc. These organizations have their own internal and external supply partners that could at one point have contact with your IP or proprietary data. That is a threat. Then, there is also the public at large and various other conduits that at some point or another have or could come in contact with your IP as well. In totality, this represents the cyber ecosystem.
One classic example of the cyber ecosystem and the perils of this environment are benefit providers. These organizations work hard to ensure your personal and confidential medical information is secure. But when they release records to small clinics or authorized users, what’s to maintain the integrity of this security?
If a benefits provider sends your confidential information to a small doctor’s office, their level of cyber security may be far less stringent than at the source of the records - the IT core of the benefit provider.
Lockheed Martin’s approach toward cyber security is to understand the ecosystem and design security to provide the level of protection needed based on the data, whether it’s within your network or half-way across the world.
Great chief information security officers seek to fully understand their company’s ecosystem and then use a wide array of legal, process, and systems tools to understand their company’s responsibilities and enable the cyber protections needed based on the data that is flowing through the ecosystem.
Protecting your data wherever it goes is the key to a robust cyber ecosystem -- because if you’re like me, you don’t want to have to worry about your IP when it goes outside to play.