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5 Best Practices for Leveraging Threat Intelligence

Posted on December 22nd, 2020

As organizations’ networks become increasingly complex, the cyber threat landscape has changed in many ways, opening the door to new and advanced threats. As a result, cyber threat intelligence has quickly become an essential component of many organizations’ cybersecurity programs. The insights gained from threat intelligence help with vulnerability identification and remediation on enterprise and third-party networks, making it a valuable asset.

That said, the value of threat intelligence is often not seen, as many organizations do not have the controls in place to properly leverage intelligence from different sources. In order to effectively take advantage of the insight that threat intelligence offers, organizations must gain an understanding of the best practices for collecting, managing, and applying the information gathered.

What is threat intelligence and why is it important?

Threat intelligence is collected information and data that can help an organization identify and defend against cyber attacks. It provides context into the threat landscape, attack vectors, and risks facing an organization by monitoring various activities like conversations on the dark web or the latest cybersecurity trends in your industry.

The cyber threat landscape is rapidly evolving and growing in size as cyber adversaries continuously adapt their tactics. Threat intelligence enables IT teams to gain an understanding of the attacker’s motives and behavior, and this insight can then be leveraged to inform future decision-making on monitoring and reducing threats.

5 best practices for leveraging threat intelligence

With so much information coming in, collecting threat intelligence can feel like a daunting task, especially once your organization begins to consider how it should actually apply the insights gained. Explore five best practices for leveraging security data and threat intelligence in order to meet your specific needs:

1. Monitor threat activity

One of the most important steps to effectively leveraging threat intelligence is continuous monitoring. Collecting threat intelligence should not be an occasional event, as this will only provide you with a moment-in-time snapshot of your organization’s risk. With a tool that can continuously monitor risks, your IT team can stay up to date on potential threats, allowing for a more proactive approach.

2. Integrate intelligence and risk management

Implementing threat intelligence into your risk management program should not create more manual, time-consuming tasks. Instead, it should help to alleviate pressure on IT teams and create a more comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. That’s why it’s critical that the threat intelligence solution you choose can be integrated with your existing security technologies and overall risk management program. Otherwise, your team runs the risk of creating additional processes that must be carried out using human resources and time.

3. Create an incident response plan

What is your organization’s plan for acting on intelligence and responding to a threat once it has been identified? This is the critical question that the entire company should consider as part of your threat intelligence program. As you build out your program, an incident response plan needs to be a priority. You will need to determine who needs to know, clearly define the order of operations, and layout the next steps necessary to mitigate the threat.

4. Automate threat intelligence implementation

There is virtually a never-ending amount of data being generated by multiple sources, and it’s nearly impossible for humans to efficiently comb through everything not only quickly, but accurately. Automating your threat intelligence allows you to take the workload off of your IT team so that they can focus on higher priority tasks and determine how to respond to the intelligence being gathered. This also cuts down on human error, meaning risks are less likely to fall through the cracks.

5. Demonstrate business value to the board

The return on investment can be difficult to track when monitoring and analyzing threat intelligence. It’s important that your team is able to clearly demonstrate the business value of your cybersecurity efforts and investments when reporting to the board, in order to gain executive buy-in and convince other key stakeholders that the spending is justified. A key factor to consider when doing so is the level of technical expertise of your board, so that you can facilitate a productive conversation about your organization’s cybersecurity posture.

How SecurityScorecard can help

Cybersecurity threat intelligence provides organizations with the context needed to make informed, data-driven decisions about how to best reduce overall risk. With SecurityScorecard’s platform, organizations can automatically and continuously collect and analyze a broad range of applicable security data that directly impacts business operations. By non-intrusively scanning for vulnerabilities across commercial and open-source threat feeds, organizations can get a more complete understanding of the threat landscape, which in turn helps to guide future decisions.

As the threat landscape continues to advance, organizations must take proactive steps to identify the risks facing their organization so that they can create the necessary processes today that can help them quickly and effectively respond to an attack tomorrow.

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