When we speak of a threat, we are referring to the intent and capability of an adversary or adversaries (threat actors) to target your organisation.
Once you can answer key questions about the threats you are facing: who is likely to target what assets, when, where, and how, you can take action to protect the business against all forms of cyber intrusion.
This brings us onto intelligence. Essentially, it’s the process of collecting and analysing information about past, current and future cyber threats. Delivered in the right way, cyber threat intelligence is timely, relevant and is capable of being acted upon by your people.
And finally, a word about risk, by which we mean a combination of threat, vulnerability and impact. Cyber threat intelligence helps you identify and define the specific risks you are faced with. It also goes a step further, by helping you make decisions based on cyber threat evidence, on when and how to put your limited resources to the best possible protective use.
Defining cyber threat intelligence
For intelligence, you need both data and information: but data, information and intelligence are not the same thing.
Data is the raw material from which intelligence is built. These are simple facts that tend to arise in large volumes. In cybersecurity, examples of single data points include a log-in attempt, or the record of a particular action, such as a systems file being accessed or a segment of text being copied to a clipboard.
Information is produced when this data is collated to reach a useful conclusion. Take web traffic logs, for instance. If the data points to a sudden spike in activity, this could be an indicator of something suspicious, such as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
Intelligence arises from the processing and analysis of this information so it can be acted upon. In our DDoS example, this threat data might include knowledge of the nature of the attack, its origination, its strength, and who it is targeting (e.g. specific sectors and regions).
The dangers of intelligence overload
With intelligence, it’s certainly possible to have too much of a good thing. In fact, as our earlier article highlighted, the average large enterprise deals with nearly 17,000 cybersecurity alerts each week and spends more than £800,000 each year responding to false positives - threats that are not really threats.
For true intelligence aimed at reducing your digital risk, context is all-important. For instance, a phishing campaign aimed at the banking sector is probably of little or no relevance to a medical supplies provider. Equally though, if there’s a live threat targeted at organisations just like yours, you need to know about it.
Generic alerts are likely to leave you with a growing volume of false positives, wasted resources, along with the potential for genuine risks going un-actioned.
Digital Risk Protection: Intelligence you can put to work
So it’s time for organisations to move away from generic alerts. Instead, you need to equip your team with the type of cyber threat intelligence they can actually work with and that positively impacts risk protection.
Here’s what this approach looks like in real life:
A single platform for intelligence alerts. Less time wasted on checking multiple feeds, and more time for analysis and protection.
Hyper-relevance. Being able to tailor your platform to monitor for the type of emerging cyber threats that directly impact your business, its people, customers, assets and supply chains.
Usability. An intuitive dashboard with at-a-glance visibility, flexibility when it comes to receipt of notifications, along with the ability to drill into the intel to get exactly the information you need: all of this ensures the intelligence you receive can be put to work.
So what difference does this approach make?
Whatever channels of intelligence and cyber threat information you make available to your organisation, there remain factors crucial to the application of that raw data, which dictate the successful deployment of protective actions and tactics. Here are some of the key benefits arising from a well-honed approach:
Information on what’s out there on the Dark Web and surface web tells you what specific risks you are facing - relating to your revenue, resources, regulatory obligations and reputation.
An early ‘heads up’ gives you vital time to coordinate a response, whether it’s traffic redirects, firewall bolstering, filter updates or more. It also means that you are honing your resources precisely where they are needed.
Targeted cyberthreat intelligence adds the context and relevance you need, in order to make better-informed decisions around information security and mitigation against data breaches.
All stakeholders, including Chief Information Security Officers and intelligence analysts, get to work from a "single source of truth", and as a result, are able to make more strategic decisions around vulnerability management and incident response.
Identification of key trends, through cyber threat analysis, allows for a swifter and more robust response in future. This sort of strategic intelligence breeds stronger leaders in your organisation.
Are you ready to zero in on the risks that matter to your business? Speak to Skurio today.