CISA expands Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative

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The JCDC is gaining over a dozen new experts focused on enhancing the cybersecurity posture for industrial control systems and operational technology as CISA ramps up security efforts around critical infrastructure.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is expanding the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative to include more than a dozen companies and organizations that manufacture, support and deliver industrial control systems and operational technology.

CISA Director Jen Easterly said the new fleet of industrial control systems (ICS) experts being added into the fold will utilize the "evolving JCDC platform," which the agency established in 2021 as part of an effort to expand information sharing initiatives and collaboration with the private sector around cybersecurity, to reduce risks for "the systems and networks we depend on so greatly as a nation."

"Cyber threats to the systems that control and operate the critical infrastructure we rely on every day are among our greatest challenges," Easterly said on Tuesday at the S4x22 conference in Miami. "As the destruction or corruption of these control systems could cause grave harm, ensuring their security and resilience must be a collective effort that taps into the innovation, expertise, and ingenuity of the ICS community."

The new companies joining the JCDC include Bechtel, Claroty, Dragos, GE, Honeywell, Nozomi Networks, Schneider Electric, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Siemens, Xylem and several additional JCDC Alliance partners, according to a CISA announcement

Several of those companies are also involved in the OT Cyber Coalition launched last week, a group of cyber experts committed to working directly with the federal government on innovative solutions and best practices applicable throughout the OT lifecycle. 

"To protect our critical infrastructure from cyber attacks and mitigate risks to human life, we must secure and ensure the resiliency of ICS, which we depend on to run the hospitals, power grids, oil pipelines, water utilities, and many other essential services," Grant Geyer, chief product officer at Claroty said in a statement sent to FCW.

CISA launched the JCDC in part as a result of recommendations from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. Experts have said the collaborative operational body provided critical insights to both major businesses and underfunded organizations amid the Log4j software vulnerability when it was discovered last year, with companies like Cisco testifying that they responded "significantly faster" thanks to JCDC.