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Port of Los Angeles Enters Agreement With IBM to Create Cyber Center

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved an agreement with IBM to design and operate a Port Cyber Resilience Center (CRC) at the Port of Los Angeles.

Focused on detecting and protecting against malicious cyber incidents potentially impacting cargo flow, this first-of-its-kind system is also expected to greatly improve the quality, quantity and speed of cyber information sharing within the port community.

“As our port increasingly relies on data integration to guide its cargo operations and processes, detection and protection against cyber incidents is critical,” port executive director Gene Seroka said. “This new Cyber Resilience Center will not only provide the port an early warning system against port-wide cyber attacks, but result in greater collective knowledge and data sharing throughout our entire port supply chain ecosystem.”

Currently, companies and stakeholders at the port monitor and respond to cyber threats individually. While still allowing stakeholder control over their own information and security protocols, the CRC will serve as a “system of systems” and focal point across all participating supply chain stakeholders for cyber threats to the Port of Los Angeles ecosystem, the port and IBM said. The CRC will allow participants such as tenants and cargo handlers to quickly share threat indicators with each other and better coordinate defensive responses as needed. The CRC will also serve as an information resource that stakeholders may use to help restore operations following an attack.

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“Now more than ever, there’s a critical need for global supply chains to operate securely and undisrupted,” Wendi Whitmore, vice president, IBM Security X-Force, said. “As the Port of Los Angeles takes these significant steps to strengthen the cyber resilience of its ecosystem, we’re proud it selected IBM’s premier capabilities in threat intelligence, AI and cloud security to help achieve this.”

The $6.8 million, three-year agreement with IBM includes hardware, software and services to design, install, operate and maintain the CRC. In 2014, the Port of Los Angeles Cyber Security Operations Center was established, operated by a dedicated cybersecurity team. The center currently serves as a centralized location to proactively monitor the port’s technology environment to prevent and detect cyber incidents. Since 2015, the port has also maintained its ISO 27001 certification for cyber security.

In support of the port’s strategic plan objective of a secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable supply chain, the center will implement security and public safety strategies that support goods movement and mitigate risk.

North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $276 billion in trade during 2019.