We now exist in a world where a constant exchange of information beyond our own walls is required to perform even the most basic tasks. But with every interaction, we risk coming into the crosshairs of threat actors from around the globe. There are people and programs scanning and sniffing constantly for the opportunity to infiltrate, exfiltrate, infect, crack, and leak every morsel of data they can.
Companies have limited resources to handle this onslaught, but by utilizing threat intelligence services they can adapt to the changing threat landscape with sophistication and precision while minimizing waste. These services shore up defenses in three ways:
- providing a company with an understanding of its position in the current threat landscape,
- producing actionable information that can guide a cybersecurity program, and
- keeping the company informed of current and evolving threats.
As such, threat intelligence should be part of every company’s cybersecurity strategy.
Why Subscribe to Threat Intelligence Services
While the principles of threat intelligence are straightforward, implementation requires more resources, training, and time than many cybersecurity and information technology departments can commit. For most companies, the practical way to incorporate threat intelligence is to subscribe to an expert service. A specialized threat intelligence service performs four main functions:
- Access to Data Sources. The service provider establishes and maintains access to many public and private data sources and monitors them in real time.
- Threat Validation. Their experts sift through this data to sort out irrelevant information and false alarms while identifying current and future threats.
- Actionable Findings. They synthesize their findings into actionable information on company-specific threats and opportunities for improvement.
- Real Time Monitoring. They develop and continually update processes for catching threats in real time so a company can deploy protection and mitigation strategies immediately.
Overall, this process enables a threat intelligence service to provide clear, useful information from a broad array of sources that can be tailored to individual companies.
Threat Intelligence Reports: What Information to Expect
The reports from a threat intelligence service will include specific information and answers that decision-makers need while contending with the current high-threat environment. Reports will identify:
- Who is attacking or planning attacks.
- What systems and data the threat actors are targeting.
- Where systems are most vulnerable.
- When attacks are likely to happen.
- Why attacks are happening.
- How attacks are likely to be carried out.
In this way, threat intelligence connects the dots in a sea of data points so that a company can defend itself without wasting time and resources. Reports provide decision-makers with a framework to approach strategic, operational, and tactical needs. Time and resources can be targeted to high-yield areas to maximize improvement to the company’s defenses.
Breaking Down the Types of Threat Intelligence
There are three types of threat intelligence:
- Strategic Intelligence. Involves keeping key decision-makers within the company informed about the organization’s position within the larger threat landscape.
- Tactical Intelligence. Helps decision-makers make sense of an unending stream of data points to provide timely warning of threats and to form a coherent and actionable view of the company’s cyber risk.
- Operational Intelligence. Provides guidance to operations personnel for preventing and responding to events.
Threat intelligence is a valuable tool for any organization. It can assist decision-makers in determining acceptable business risk, developing equipment and personnel budgets, assisting in incident response investigations, prioritizing indicators of compromise, and keeping everyone’s head above water in the endless sea of disparate data points. As a result, a company can reduce costs, lower risk, avoid data and privacy breaches, and empower personnel with continuously updated information on the latest cybersecurity threats.