The Ritz Herald
Aerial image of containers in the Port of Long Beach, California. © Adam Kaz

America’s Busiest Port And IBM Partnered Up to Help Secure Maritime Supply Chain

The Port of Los Angeles to build first-of-its-kind cyber resilience center, IBM Cloud Pak for security to power open platform for sharing of cyberthreat data

Published on December 07, 2020

IBM Security announced a new agreement with the Port of Los Angeles to design and operate a Port Cyber Resilience Center (CRC). This multi-year agreement aims to improve the Port’s cybersecurity readiness and enhance threat sharing and collaboration within its supply chain ecosystem. IBM will leverage its leadership in cloud security and automation to deliver technology and expertise to help Port stakeholders detect and protect against malicious cyber incidents in a first-of-its-kind initiative for cyber preparedness.

The Port of Los Angeles is in the midst of an infrastructure investment program to raise the bar for cargo efficiency. It is also focused on new technologies to enhance digital information flow throughout the supply chain. With cyber threats emerging as the reality for all industries, the Port is taking proactive steps to enhance its ecosystem’s awareness and readiness to respond to cyber threats that could disrupt the flow of cargo.

The CRC will be a maritime Security Intelligence and Operations Center (SIOC) to automate threat collaboration and extend its reach beyond traditional maritime stakeholders to Port stakeholders that are more broadly involved in cargo flow, such as cross-sector companies. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to contribute threat data to the CRC and benefit from the more extensive and accumulated threat intelligence made available to them through it.

“The Cyber Resilience Center will provide a cutting-edge early warning system further to defend the Port and its stakeholders against cyber threats,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “This will result in greater collective knowledge, enhanced data sharing throughout our Port ecosystem, and will help to maintain the flow of critical cargo.”

The $6.8 million, three-year agreement with the Port of LA includes IBM Security software and services to design, install, operate, and maintain the CRC. The Board recommendation to select IBM was based on a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process conducted by the Port. The new CRC will leverage IBM Cloud Pak for Security, X-Force Threat Intelligence, and IBM Security SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation and Response) to facilitate automated response playbooks to security events and collaboration amongst Port stakeholders. IBM will also collaborate with TruSTAR to leverage their enterprise intelligence management platform for stakeholders to automate and distribute intelligence among the Port of Los Angeles and Port Stakeholders.

The collaboration with IBM Security will provide the Port of Los Angeles’s CRC with cutting edge security technologies, and expert services support, including:

  • Threat Intelligence – IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence experts bring global and industry threat modeling capabilities to give exclusive maritime threat information. Combined with TruSTAR and Cloud Pak for Security, IBM Security X-Force can apply threat intelligence to systems and individuals for critical decision-making.
  • Automated Workflows – IBM Cloud Pak for Security will provide an open security platform to serve as the foundation for CRC activities – allowing them to quickly integrate security tools for deeper intelligence into threats across hybrid cloud environments and respond faster to security incidents. Designed to run in any cloud or on-premise environment and connect openly regardless of the vendor infrastructure, Cloud Pak for Security can automate threat intelligence ingestions from multiple sources, conduct threat analysis and make the anonymized data available to Port stakeholders through a single dashboard that informs their threat awareness and proposed defender actions.
  • Orchestrated Responses – IBM Security SOAR can enable teams to codify stakeholders’ incident response processes into dynamic playbooks, accelerating, and orchestrating their response to a potential security incident. These automated actions can not only help stakeholders understand security threats, and they can help prioritize them.
  • SIOC Dedicated Services and Support – IBM will provide on-site Security Intelligence and Operations Center (SIOC) resources and support to manage the CRC and conduct real-time threat analysis. IBM’s threat analysts and SIOC experts will help onboard each operation and company and manage Cloud Pak for Security across the Port ecosystem, configuring it to run based on each stakeholders’ needs.

Setting an Industry Precedent

As one of the busiest seaports in the world and leading gateway for international trade in North America, the Port of Los Angeles has been the number one container port in the United States for the past twenty years, facilitating $276 billion trade in 2019 alone. This new initiative with IBM can enhance the quality, quantity, and speed of cyber information sharing within the Port’s massive third-party ecosystem.

Existing maritime threat sharing portals are distinctly operated, relying on each party’s bandwidth to manually input threat data into the platforms, thus creating the potential for compromise if threats aren’t shared or communicated in a timely, collective manner. The CRC, however, will serve as an automated “system of systems” and focal point across all participating supply chain stakeholders for cyber threats to the Port of Los Angeles ecosystem while still allowing stakeholder control over their own information and security protocols. Tenants and cargo handlers will be able to quickly share threat indicators to better coordinate defensive responses as needed. The CRC will also serve as an information resource that stakeholders may use to restore operations following an attack.

“A supply chain is only as strong as its most vulnerable entity. The CRC will help each participating member of the supply chain to protect themselves better, and by extension each other,” said Wendi Whitmore, Vice President, IBM Security X-Force. “In the face of a cyberattack, every second counts and with the threat detection, threat sharing, and automation capabilities that IBM can bring to this project, we’re uniquely positioned to build the tools that can help provide the speed and efficiency stakeholders demand.”

Learn more about IBM Cloud Pak for Security here and IBM Security SOAR here. Also, you can find more information about IBM Security X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services here.

Associate Writer