Threat intelligence is the study of determining what your business’s main threats are. It’s not difficult, but many business owners aren’t certain how they can then take this information and make it work for them. They end up preparing for threats that they will never face while ignoring threats that are very real. Most businesses that do threat intelligence simply don’t understand what it is or how vital it is to businesses today. By making threat intelligence work for you, you can not only prevent the most likely threats from occurring but you can also better focus your resources, time, and energy. You’ll be spending your money in the most efficient, intelligent manner.
Learn What Threat Intelligence Is
The first and most important thing is to actually learn what threat intelligence is and how you can use it. Threat intelligence is made up of all the data your company has analyzed in an effort to learn about potential threats. The data is collected from any number of sources and is often made up of wildly different pieces of information. You’re likely to be dealing with multiple threats every day, which makes it difficult to know which one to deal with first.
The first thing to do is to sort through this data to determine what’s relevant. Look at what’s happened to you. It’s not very likely that you’ve been hacked by a well-known hacker. Instead, it’s more likely that your security challenges come from viruses, malware, unpatched security vulnerabilities, and other simpler, more basic attacks. Look at what your threat intelligence suggests is your largest threat and stop it first. This can take some time, of course, but it’s worth it.
Remember that protection should start close to home. Protect your own information and data first. Once your office is secure, start looking at your larger feeds and other data channels. Also be sure to keep up with what’s happening to other companies. Have several people been attacked by one hacker or fallen to one particular virus? Make that your priority.
Make Use of Detection and Threat Monitoring Programs
There are many different network security monitoring tools out there that you can use to monitor your own network and stop various emerging threats as soon as they hit. Think of these tools as your security officers. They walk the halls of your network after everyone has gone home, sweeping their flashlights across the dark building. Whenever they catch something odd, they detain it, blocking its access to the rest of your network.
If you know you’ve had a specific virus or malware program on your network before, these programs can be one way of preventing its return. You can also use them to protect against anything else that might have compromised your network. These programs also help you narrow down the data you gather from system events. There are thousands of these events logged every day, and most of them are useless information. By narrowing down the events to those that are malicious, you can better defend your system.
Make Everyone Aware of Threats
Make use of memos, email newsletters, and other methods of distributing network security tips so that everyone is aware of the latest threats and how to respond to them. Many IT departments simply don’t communicate well with the rest of the business. They believe that since these threats are related to their department, no one else needs to know about them. But everyone in the company logs on to the network daily. They need to know what to look for and what they may find themselves dealing with. Threat intelligence isn’t precious data to be hoarded – it’s vital information that needs to be shared.
Along the same lines, be sure to educate your employees on how to appropriately handle threats and what they can do to stop threats on their own. If your threat intelligence suggests that many of your attacks have come from employees bringing their own devices to work, you may need to create a new BYOD policy and educate employees on it. If you’ve had issues with viruses spread through email, discuss proper email usage and how to spot suspicious emails. Education and communication are often the key to stopping many basic threats.
How Well Do Your Projects Mitigate Threats?
Once you know what threats you’re facing, you need to begin plans to mitigate those threats. Improve your firewalls, upgrade your virus scanners, install network monitoring tools, and do anything else that directly address your top threats. Then look at each of these security tools and determine how well they help (or will help if you don’t have them) protect your network from the identified top threats. If it seems like they won’t do much at all, it may not be worth investing in them. Why put time and resources into mitigation tools that won’t really help stop the threats your facing?
The idea of simply using anything and everything that could stop potential attacks is a sure-fire way to fall victim to an attack. Throwing everything at the wall and hoping something does the job means you’ll leave areas vulnerable while having unneeded redundancies in other areas.
Make sure you hold the companies behind these mitigation tools accountable, too, if they don’t do what they claim they would. If you invest in a tool and it doesn’t work, they need to know what happened. Provide them with as much data as you can about your attack so they can learn why their tool failed and how to fix it.
Bring Everything Together
Finally, you have to bring all of your different aspects of threat intelligence together to make it truly effective. You have to analyze the data, pull out the most relevant information, and then carefully consider your potential threats. By using the right monitoring programs, investing in the best possible mitigation tools, and communicating about the various threats to everyone, you’ll find that you’re able to protect your network much better and use fewer resources doing so.