As Vice President of Product and Solutions Marketing at a data security and management company, I’m always talking about the need to keep data safe, to keep the enterprise safe. And for good reason. Here at Cohesity, that’s our bread and butter. But our task is bigger than that. If data is safe but the people, places, and very infrastructure that create that data is under attack, our work will only get us so far.
Fortunately, Jen Easterly is on the case. As Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Easterly leads the efforts to understand, manage, and reduce risk to the cyber and physical infrastructure of this country. Easterly spoke with Cohesity CEO and President Sanjay Poonen at Cohesity Catalyst about the importance of trusted partnerships—especially between those in the public and private sector. “We all have a role to play,” Easterly said. “This is not something government can solve or industry can solve or state and local officials can solve.”
Here’s why partnerships, and alliances more broadly, are so critical in a world where threats never stop—and never stop intensifying.
Easterly’s impressive resume
At CISA, Easterly sees it all. Not just actual threats—but potential threats to the cyber and physical infrastructure Americans rely on, as she says, “every hour of every day.” This constant barrage of threats is enough to deter most people from this line of work, but Easterly isn’t most people.
After 21 years in the Army and six years in the federal government, Easterly led cybersecurity operations at Morgan Stanley before taking her role at CISA. To put it mildly, she’s no stranger to high stakes, high threat environments, so what she says carries great weight. At Catalyst, she made resoundingly clear that as cybercrime threatens our way of life, the only way CISA can help us stay safe is through trusted public-private sector partnerships.
“A lot of these ransomware actors are using known vulnerabilities that are just not patched,” Easterly said. “So the more that we can get software companies and technology companies to drive down those vulnerabilities…the more that you’re helping with this overall problem.”
Watch Sanjay Poonen’s full fireside chat with CISA’s Jen Easterly
“By, with, and through partnership”
When I say cybercrime is threatening our way of life I’m not being hyperbolic. Cybercriminals target our critical infrastructure, and when they do, they target everything: how we shop for groceries, how we deliver medical care and education, how we get gas for our cars. And that’s just barely scratching the surface. The private sector owns much of this infrastructure, and Easterly and CISA know that if they’re going to be successful in their mission to protect and defend critical infrastructure, they’ll need to do this in partnership with private sector players like us.
“I’m really proud of some of the work that the team’s doing again based on those trusted partnerships and working with vendors and others to help drive down the scourge of ransomware across this nation,” Easterly said at Catalyst.
So while joining forces with other vendors may not be the only way to keep customer data safe and enterprises resilient, it is the best way. Bar none.
That’s why we launched the Data Security Alliance in November 2022. It’s also why the Alliance continues to grow in membership and expand in influence. We know, as CISA does, that an ecosystem approach to defending against cyber threats is far more powerful than going it alone—and that our cohesive web of integrations and best practices strengthens enterprises (and their customer data) against cyberattacks and their insidious impacts.
But we’re not stopping with launching a top flight alliance and calling it a day. We continue to welcome new members into the fold.
Most recently, we announced that Netskope, ServiceNow, and Zscaler joined existing Data Security Alliance members BigID, Cisco, CyberArk, Mandiant, Okta, Palo Alto Networks, PwC UK, Qualys, Securonix, and Splunk. We also delivered new integrations with CrowdStrike and ServiceNow, and an updated integration with Tenable.
The importance of partnerships
What does this mean for you?
It means instead of getting a patchwork of siloed solutions that’s complex to manage and may contain holes no single vendor can fill on their own, you get an integrated, technical cyber defense. One that combines exceptional data security and data management from the industry’s top players, all of whom are strategically focused on, and in sync with, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework: identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover.
It means our end goal is not just your data security or cybersecurity writ large, but true cyber resilience for you and your organization.
Look: Ransomware attacks will continue to proliferate and iterate and won’t stop anytime soon. That’s the cold, hard truth. But active, productive, committed partnerships like those CISA creates, and alliances like the Data Security Alliance, mean you’re not just in good hands, but in many good hands working together toward a common goal.
Ransomware is a serious foe. But never underestimate the power of collaboration.