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Security Scorecard

What is Cyber Intelligence? Enabling a Comprehensive Security Strategy

Posted on May 11th, 2020

As cyber threats become more sophisticated, many organizations are placing an increased emphasis on their security programs. Organizations of all sizes are building security teams to handle the deployment of network solutions and manage threats. A key component to the success of these initiatives is having access to current cyber threat intelligence.

What is cyber intelligence?

Cyber intelligence is a form of threat intelligence or information an organization can use to better understand the threats they are currently facing or will face in the future. Once cyber threat information has been collected, analyzed, and categorized, it becomes cybersecurity intelligence that provides organizations with actionable insights that can be leveraged to identify, quantify and rank vulnerabilities, and reduce cyber risk.

Knowledge of the latest threat trends provides IT teams with greater visibility into the current threat landscape, helping them prepare for, and protect against attacks. For your cybersecurity strategy to be effective, you need to have an understanding of the different types of cyber intelligence. This will inform the personnel and solutions you employ to maintain security, and allow you to build comprehensive cybersecurity strategies that align with your organization’s goals.

The different types of cyber threat intelligence

The insights gained from threat intelligence will differ depending on your organization’s security requirements and intended audience. For example, threat intelligence used to inform a broader cybersecurity strategy differs greatly from intelligence used to combat specific malware threats.

Based on these criteria, threat intelligence can be broken into three categories:

Strategic threat intelligence

Strategic threat intelligence provides organizations with a high-level overview of their current threat landscape. It is typically used by executives when making decisions regarding organizational operations. For this reason, strategic threat intelligence is generally less technical and more closely aligns with business concepts.

Tactical threat intelligence

Tactical threat intelligence outlines the techniques threat actors use to gain access to systems. This shows organizations the ways by which they may be attacked and provides insights for defense strategies. Tactical threat intelligence tends to be more technical as it is used by employees who are involved in the day-to-day defense of an organization.

Operational threat intelligence

Operational threat intelligence helps security teams understand the nature of threats by outlining the intent and timing of specific attacks. By analyzing past attacks, IT teams can learn about the capabilities of their adversaries, allowing them to develop focused detection methodologies.

How cyber intelligence can support your cybersecurity strategy

Cyber intelligence can help contextualize the threats you are facing, which is beneficial when creating a cybersecurity program. Here are five ways cyber intelligence can support your cybersecurity strategy:

1. Increased incident response and accuracy

One of the most difficult aspects of security is incident response. When responding to incidents, security teams have to sort through large amounts of data in order to accurately assess an attack. With a large portion of daily attacks turning out to be false positives, incident response often results in wasted time and resources.

Tactical threat intelligence can help here as it allows security analysts to more accurately identify and dismiss false positives. By providing context into alerts, security teams are able to ensure expedited response times across networks.

As more cybercriminals begin to use machine learning to carry out attacks, it is essential that organizations pair cyber intelligence with automation so that they can keep pace with advanced attack vectors. Leveraging automation to identify and remediate these threats gives time back to your IT teams, allowing them to focus their efforts on high-level security matters.

2. Risk modeling

Risk modeling allows organizations to evaluate their current level of cyber risk and determine the value of the cybersecurity solutions they use. In order for risk models to be effective, they need to be specific to the current threat landscape so that they provide actionable next steps.

Using strategic cyber intelligence when creating a risk model will ensure that cybersecurity solutions are assessed with regard to your organization’s threat landscape. This will facilitate effective cybersecurity decision-making.

3. Vulnerability identification and management

Vulnerability management is a very important part of cybersecurity, however with new vulnerabilities discovered every day, it is almost impossible to keep up with necessary patches. This is why organizations should assess vulnerabilities based on the risk so that they can determine which patches need to be administered first.

Tactical threat intelligence helps security teams prioritize vulnerabilities based on known exploits. If there are high levels of threat activity surrounding a vulnerability, you will know to patch that before anything based on the risk it poses to your business.

4. Data protection

Protecting both internal and customer data is essential as a breach can result in significant fines and reputational damage. Leveraging operational threat intelligence to monitor cybercrime activity can provide insights into upcoming attacks, giving organizations ample time to bolster security. This is especially beneficial for security operations center (SOC) teams as it helps them implement necessary security controls in an efficient manner.

5. Third-party risk management

If you work with third-party vendors, then it is crucial that you monitor their cybersecurity posture. One way to do this is by conducting third-party risk assessments to help identify the level of cyber risk individual vendors pose to your organization. Using threat intelligence when creating the assessment provides visibility into your vendor’s threat landscape, allowing you to more accurately assess risk. Threat trends can also be used for ongoing risk management as they produce real-time updates on changes to your vendor’s risk environment.

How SecurityScorecard can help

Having access to threat intelligence is a necessity for organizations as it provides them with the data they need to build a strong cybersecurity program. SecurityScorecard’s data engine uses machine learning to deliver security intelligence and analytics capabilities, helping you to build a secure network ecosystem.

SecurityScorecard also calculates a cybersecurity score for your business which can be used to analyze your organization’s cyber health across ten risk factors. This enables you to more accurately predict risk, driving meaningful security insights.

For businesses to stay secure, they must be able to proactively manage threats. SecurityScorecard’s cyber intelligence solutions help to streamline the intelligence-gathering process allowing you to better protect your business.

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