Actionable threat intelligence is a significant business investment to begin with. However, it is a necessity for modern businesses that wish to scale their security operations and protect sensitive user data. It helps businesses make better decisions, understand the online threats in their environment, and grow sales.
When a security team implements an actionable threat intelligence plan in its firm, they automatically put themselves ten steps ahead of the cybercriminals trying to infiltrate their network’s security.
Cybersecurity risks are a significant threat to efficient business operations. A modern business’s security system will only be complete with the proper measures in place, like cyber threat intelligence programs, strong firewalls, machine learning models and AI-powered solutions. This guide will look into actionable threat intelligence, the key benefits of a threat intelligence program, and how you can implement one for your business!
What is actionable threat intelligence in cybersecurity?
Actionable threat intelligence is vital to a company’s network security strategy. It helps the security team by providing specific insights that tackle and eliminate cyber threats. In addition, there is a sense of automation that comes with implementing these tools since they go beyond basic threat hunting and can recommend and launch counter strategies to protect the primary business better.
When senior executives can understand a threat better and assess its environment, they can devise effective strategies that prevent future instances of risky scenarios. This prevents the wastage of company resources and helps improve the overall management system.
With a secure system that builds customer trust, businesses can attempt to scale their operations effectively and draw in new consumers. This puts actionable threat intelligence ahead of other intelligence systems like Business Intelligence since it provides “actionable” insights.
It is also important to remember that an overall threat intelligence program is not limited to one tool. Instead, it encompasses a series of advanced cybersecurity tools, each dedicated to its functions. Some of these functions include but are not limited to gathering, assessing, and cataloguing intelligence data effectively.
What are the benefits of threat intelligence for modern businesses?
Implementing threat intelligence for a business’s security system has several benefits, including improved risk management, thorough situational awareness, and effective threat detection and response. This helps concerned stakeholders to make better security-related decisions and stay one step ahead of the market curve while safeguarding sensitive data from threat actors.
In the following sections, we will take a more detailed look into the benefits of a threat intelligence program:
The first benefit of threat intelligence for businesses is security-data insights. These help companies make better decisions that help improve the overall cybersecurity strategy. With the help of advanced data analysis tools, threat intelligence programs consider a more comprehensive range of raw data that allows for insights that cut through any assumptions and are fact-based.
This new threat data helps the business to stay on its feet among changing trends with a proactive stand rather than a reactive one. One instance of this is with potential security investments. While other firms might make decisions based on word-of-mouth and general suggestions, businesses utilising threat intelligence data can depend on their tool’s insight to understand its impact and potential applications. This could prevent excessive expenditure on an unrealistic program.
With a good threat intelligence program, a business can become more proactive with threat detection and incident response. While the latter will be discussed in the next section, we will look at how threat detection is improved in this section.
Threat intelligence programs continuously monitor security networks, and they can develop a thorough understanding of the threat environment, which helps them to identify any potential cyber threats before there is a real risk.
Security teams can use these insights to safeguard critical assets and create effective counterstrategies. In some instances, the response system is part of the threat intelligence program, and it can take actions like blocking malware from installing on the company network. When a business combines threat intelligence with SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation and Response) and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions, it can reduce downtime post-breach and minimise the attack’s impact.
When a business gets a detailed understanding of its threat environment, including data on potential threat actors and the types of cyber attacks it is most exposed to, it can devise new cybersecurity strategies that tackle these attack vectors before they become a bigger problem.
This is all part of the situational awareness benefits that a business can get from cyber threat intelligence. It is crucial for senior executives when they engage in decision-making. They can get a detailed understanding of the risk and potential counter strategies before they finish setting up the cyber defence system.
How to implement an actionable threat intelligence program successfully?
Implementing an actionable threat intelligence plan starts with a clear core layout and fundamental pointers. Other than that, it is also important to understand the aims and objectives of your program as well as choose the correct method for data analysis, threat detection and incident response. It is also possible to go with a third-party option or give the control over to the firm’s security team, which will research the right approach, implement the resulting program and then continuously monitor it to adjust to the changing needs of the business over time.
Without the right approach, wasting company resources on a program and tools that cannot protect the business against security threats would be futile. The resulting data and threat intelligence must be accurate, proactive and delivered at a time when it is possible to take actions to mitigate any consequential damage. This is why it is important to set the right direction for your plan and follow it meticulously until you meet your objectives.
It can be daunting to figure out what will and won’t support your security objectives properly, making implementing a threat intelligence program quite complex. However, like with all other difficult decisions, taking the initiative and individually tackling the process’s steps is vital. Here are the detailed steps you need to consider:
Core Layout and Initial Planning:
When implementing a threat intelligence plan, you must first understand your program’s objectives and projected scope. This list will contain several details, including the types of threats the program will analyse and the data sources and networks it will include for this analysis.
It is important to ascertain that the key stakeholders concerned with the program’s input and output are all working towards the same goals. This will include senior executives, cyber security team members and the risk management team, among other departments.
After you have understood your initial and future goals with the implementation, you need to pick a threat intelligence provider from the market. Since you will already have clear objectives and requirements at the beginning, choosing the right provider who fits your targeted goals should be easy.
Before you choose a provider, you must consider several factors, including the quality of intelligence they provide and the level of customer support you can expect. Be very clear about the threats your chosen provider specialises in and those they cannot handle.
Process for Data Collection and Analysis:
After picking out the threat intelligence provider, set some base guidelines and protocols for every data-related process, including collecting, analysing and cataloguing. This will incorporate everything from the data collection process to the sources and details on how often the data will be collected.
Be sure that the threat intelligence system blends in with any other security processes and protocols already in place, including any SIEM solutions, threat detection systems, anti-malware software or firewalls.
Actionable Plan and Monitoring:
Once your plan for threat detection is in place, it is crucial to remember the purpose of the threat intelligence you are receiving- it must act as a means to manage cyber attacks and eliminate threat actors. This means you need to have a system for taking action.
The system will be part of the actionable intelligence. It will include a list of available responses and actions to deal with specific threats, including a proper plan to implement during cyber attacks.
However, this is not the end of the program’s implementation. It is only the start since you will need to ensure that the system you have implemented is continuously monitored so that the program results can be evaluated. Any necessary changes can be implemented in time to improve the program and ensure its effectiveness.
When we consider how concerning the rising cyber security risks are for modern businesses, it is clear that actionable threat intelligence programs are more than just additional protection tools- they are necessary. It is time for companies to understand the importance of proactive decision-making for their systems and prioritising cybersecurity improvements.
If you want to learn more about cybersecurity and AI, the Institute of Data offers some excellent courses to help you grow your skill set and break into the industry successfully. Book a career consultation with one of our experts today to learn more about what career in tech will work best for you and the right strategy to approach your goals!