To protect their personnel, assets, and sensitive information from being compromised, hijacked, or stolen by malicious actors, organizations are often advised to adopt security best practices, and to deploy the latest in secure technologies.
But these things can’t be pulled out of thin air, or identified and adopted without knowledge of what they are, how they should be used, and where they can be best sourced from. It’s also essential to know exactly what these measures are being adopted to guard against.
Information or intelligence is one of the foundation stones of enterprise security – and up to the minute cyber threat intelligence is one of the principal elements of that foundation stone.
What Is Cyber Threat Intelligence?
Cyber threat intelligence is information about past, current, or impending dangers to personal or corporate assets, information, identities, and resources. This information is based on certified evidence, and to be of any value to an individual or organization it has to be capable of being translated into some kind of positive action. This action should be aimed at minimizing risk, preventing the occurrence of a possible threat, or nullifying the effects of an existing one.
To know what kinds of information about cyber threats will be most useful to an enterprise – and to be able to interpret what this information means and how best it can be used – it’s necessary to assess and understand the risks which are relevant to the organization.
A comprehensive and up to the minute cyber threat intelligence database enables organizations to determine which threats have the greatest priority for them, and which risk factors are most likely to affect their specific industry, network architecture, or working practices. On the basis of this understanding, they’re in a better position to allocate the required resources to mitigate or combat these risks.
Integrating Intelligence with Security Operations
In order for an enterprise security policy and its associated tools, techniques, and management strategy to be effective, it’s essential that cyber threat intelligence be integrated with the organization’s security operations.
Having the relevant information at their fingertips enables security managers and incident response teams to determine which alerts or identified incidents are active threats, worthy of further investigation, or can reasonably be ignored.
The Benefits of Real Time Cyber Threat Intelligence
The first and principal benefit of real time cyber threat intelligence is that it’s available in real time. Live feeds and alerts that present a clear and comprehensive picture of active threats, ongoing security incidents, new technologies, or personalities and organizations relevant to an enterprise can empower security teams to take immediate action or to implement on the spot decisions, in response to this information.
Other benefits of having access to real time cyber threat intelligence include:
- Immediate insight into threats faced by the enterprise, and their associated risks to the organization.
- Current information required in making decisions as to which vulnerabilities should be addressed, first – and how best to address them.
- Access to information on new and emerging threats and threat actors.
- The ability to track the ongoing activities of cyber-criminals and hacktivists specific to your industry.
- Active monitoring of social media and online channels for mentions of your organization or brand.
- Monitoring of online communications channels for evidence of current cyber-criminal activity, or intended campaigns.
- Using information on current cyber threat actors, techniques, and tools can add to the knowledge base and skill-set of enterprise security teams.
- Gaining insight into how vulnerable or otherwise the organization’s current internet presence is.
- Active intelligence for identifying and preventing security breaches.
- Incident monitoring for the active prevention and minimization of fraud and theft.
- Access to information needed for organizational risk management, and the protection of enterprise personnel and assets.
What to Look for In a Real-Time Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform
Modern threat intelligence platforms are capable of pulling in data from an incredibly large number of sources. And with developments in machine learning algorithms, prescriptive analytics, predictive analytics, and related technologies, high-end platforms are able to sift through this data for relevance to your enterprise, and report on their findings with great speed, clarity, and efficiency.
That said, not all threat intelligence platforms were created equal. If you’re in the market for some real time cyber threat intelligence, you should look for a provider or platform with the following characteristics:
- The knowledge base and IT expertise to enable and empower your own IT and security teams.
- Detailed and wide-ranging collection and analysis of threat actors, attack vectors, and counter-measures – all with an eye to supporting and improving your organization’s own security efforts.
- Collection and analysis of intelligence on emerging indicators of cyber threat activity, and the activities of threat actors.
- Analysis of both the open internet and those sections of the Dark Web known to host communications between cyber threat actors.
- Access to shared intelligence and incident data from organizations similar to your own.
- Managed detection and response (MDR) services, to augment the capabilities of in-house security teams.
Of course, all the real time intelligence in the world can’t help you if your response to receiving it is sluggish. So in addition to finding a platform that’s a good fit, it’s essential to get your organization’s response framework in order. That way, once real time threats are identified, you’ll know who to contact, what techniques and processes to employ, and who’s responsible for doing what, in taking the required action.
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