Security information sharing between the Federal government and private sector has been on the rise recently – whether it’s through the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative, or various Information Sharing and Analysis Centers across the government, to name just a few – and a National Security Agency (NSA) official said this week that increased collaboration is being driven by mission demand and a higher degree of trust between organizations.

At MeriTalk’s Cyber Central event in Washington D.C. May 19, Natalie Pittore, the chief of enduring security framework at NSA, said that the threat landscape and adversaries that both the Federal government and private sector have been facing have pushed the two sides to work together more often.

“It really comes down to mission demand and trust,” Pittore said. “At the end of the day, our adversaries are not discriminating in who they’re targeting. They’re targeting the government. They’re targeting private sector networks.”

“There’s no way we can effectively defend against these threats if we’re not creating a complete picture of how the adversary is exploiting and attacking us,” she added. “And so that requires us to work together.”

Pittore said that the increased collaboration, however, would not be possible if the two sides had not been working for years to build trust with each other.

“We wouldn’t be able to [work together and share information] if we haven’t been working on building that trust, to be able to share together and know that when I’m going to give you visibility into what I have in my holdings, and you’re going to let me see what you have, we’re doing that for a common purpose. And that is to improve the security and resiliency of our nation,” Pittore said.

She said NSA highly values trust, intelligence, and security as guiding tenets, so the agency is “vigilant” in how it shares information.

“What we found is it’s not good enough to know; we have to be able to act on it,” Pittore said. “And so, being able to break down those barriers and build that trust with our industry partners to be able to work together has been honestly the most important part of this and the two real core reasons I think we are where we are today.”

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.