Saturday, November 23, 2013

Red Sky Weekly - 11/23/13: It's about the swing!

One of the guys told me yesterday that our growth and content creation lines were near straight lines at a 45 degree angle. He'd noticed that since the end of summer, the portal has been on fire. So this morning before jumping into the blog, I wanted to check the numbers out for myself. It's been a while since doing so, and I'm coming up on a threat day where I've got to report out to the membership our current status and what's coming.
Figure 1: Content Creation
Figure 1 is a graphic showing content creation since our kick-off. Our portal was issued to us (empty) in mid-January 2012, modified, tested and deployed in mid-February with content population starting in March. Since then, this thing has been a straight line of activity. 

Our community has grown from two (Jim and I) to 207 total accounts (as of this morning), with roughly 80-100 active every month (Figure 2). This was a total surprise to me. I've been involved in information sharing organizations before (several in fact), and have never seen user participation levels like these. What does that mean to you? It means there are 80-100 active, peer reviewed analysts who can help you with just about any request. Need help with something special? Just ask. Someone will have worked on that too. Need to reduce false positives in your IOCS? Just ask. Setting strategy for next year? Metrics help? Others have been working the same things. Good intel - tech to GEOPOL, cross sector participation, and finished reporting from the discussions. How cool is that!?

Figure 2: User Adoption and Creation
Figure two is the graphic showing the numbers of active participants month over month back to the beginning of the year. It's amazing to me to think that even when the week seems slow, month over month the activity stay's relatively consistent.  By far, besides the containers that hold the fusion reports and IOCs, the most active area in the community is intelligence, followed closely by the Malware Lab. 
  • Security Intelligence is the location in the portal where members talk about what's coming. We've added priority intelligence reporting and geo-political analysis, both based on traditional intelligence cycle processes, both creating a ton of activity. 
  • Malware Lab is always busy. Most of our folks have malware analysis capabilities, and they'll drop results into the Malware Lab. For those who don't, Wapack Labs can help. We can run the code for you and drop the results back into the portal. 
So why did I title this blog "It's about the swing!"??

I keep a morse code key on my desk. It reminds me of where this all started for me. I was a Coast Guard Radioman (RM3) standing watch at Coast Guard Communications Station Boston (actually, in Marshfield, MA), eventually growing to Telecom Specialist (TC1) before heading off to Navy Officer Candidate School (that's a whole different story!). Back to the code key... when you're operating by morse code (we ran many of our comms by morse code (I'm dating myself!!) , after a while, you get to know who you're talking to by the 'swing' of their key. It's like recognizing the voice on the other end of the phone. After a while, even though some of us have never met, we get to know each other. The portal is the same way. We're getting to know each other through active participation, peer reviews, and various get-togethers --some involving food and mild liquid lubrication.. it helps with the bonding ;)

The swing has become apparent in the portal. Those who communicate regularly seem to really hit it off analytically. The products that the team pushes out cement the conversations in formal, easy to read, 'this is what it means' and 'this is how you stop it' reporting. Will it always work? Probably not, but it's a great start to working your own environment, knowing what to look for, finding it, and saving yourself a hell of a lot of time and frustration of trying to go it alone. 

We're pushing through to the end of the year. We brought on a new member this year, and are pushing to close out our year and get new folks started before January. If you've been thinking about requesting a demo, give us a call. We've been flat out for the last few months (see Figure 1!). I'm expecting that we'll slow down as we pass Thanksgiving, so this is the time. Drop us a note!

Until next time,
Have a GREAT Thanksgiving!
Jeff



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