Cyber threats appear when you least expect, knocking on the walls of your network, trying to gain access and steal as much of your information as possible. While larger businesses usually have the means to handle cyber attacks, small and medium businesses don't have the same resources. Often, your threat intelligence goes as far as general knowledge and what you've seen online from industry professionals. An MSP is an optimal answer, but there are certain threat intelligence services you should look for when choosing the best option.
What is Threat Intelligence?
Simply put, threat intelligence is information about dangerous cyber activity that threatens your data and systems. It compiles data to determine which of your assets are most at risk and help you decide which tools to use and where to take action when a cyber threat is detected.
Imagine that your data and digital assets are a house. You protect your home with locks, cameras, maybe a guard dog or two. If you live in a high-risk neighborhood, an alarm system may greatly deter break-ins. If you live in a mansion you may hire guards to monitor the perimeter at all hours.
The more valuables you have in your house, the more you're willing to spend to keep them safe. Threat intelligence is the information that informs your decisions on what to protect and how to do it. Collecting and acting on your data makes threat intelligence important and challenging.
The Six Steps of Cyber Threat Intelligence
Whether your MSP uses tactical intelligence, strategic intelligence, or operational threat intelligence, the process is still complex and requires careful oversight. Collecting and leveraging your threat intelligence is difficult and usually out of most small businesses' wheelhouse.
Phase 1: Direction
In the direction phase, you determine where to focus security efforts and how you will set your security up for success. This is basically the goal stage of your threat intelligence initiative. This includes going over which assets and processes take priority, the impact on your business if those assets are compromised, the types of intelligence you need, and where to focus your efforts. Since you can't deal with every threat, you have to choose the most important assets to guard and focus your efforts on keeping them safe around the clock.
Phase 2: Collection
This phase involves collecting threat data on potential threat sources, either through automated technology or manually. There are multiple sources for this stage, including metadata and logs from applications, security tools, monitoring human interaction, network infrastructure, reading threat data feeds, consulting with security teams, and more.
Phase 3: Processing
The processing phase involves collecting, exporting, and standardizing your data, identifying duplicates and anomalies, and creating stakeholder reports. At this point, your complex data turns into actionable intelligence that your cyber threat intelligence analysts can use to create effective incident response procedures.
Phase 4: Analysis
Processed data is accurate and actionable, so you can extract intelligence from the collected information to create your threat intelligence plan. Analysis is the process of reviewing all of the collected data to identify evidence of compromised systems and the actions required to fix them. Depending on the information presented, that decision might involve investigating a potential threat, immediately blocking an attack, or taking even more aggressive steps.
Phase 5: Dissemination
The next step involves sending the information to stakeholders who can act on the findings. This is done through threat indicators, security alerts, threat intelligence reports, and tool configuration information.
Strategic threat intelligence is sent to executives to help them plan business strategies around potential risks. Operational intelligence goes to the security and network managers so they can focus on defending your network against known threat actors. Tactical intelligence goes to IT services and security operation center (SOC) managers and architects who focus on adversaries' threat intelligence platforms.
Phase 6: Feedback
Finally, feedback from those that received threat intelligence data is collected. This includes getting updates on the type of data they need and how processes could be improved to streamline the overall experience. This should be an ongoing process since there are always new threats on the horizon and your needs may change daily or weekly depending on the threats you face.
Your Local Cyber Threat Intelligence Experts
Finding the right MSP that will handle all of your cyber threat intelligence needs may feel like finding a needle in a haystack. For local SMBs, your IT search ends with IntegriTel. Offering onsite support, remote monitoring, threat intelligence solutions powered by Bitdefender, and a slew of other services, your systems have never been in better hands.
If it's time to update your virtual solutions to the next level, contact our team of experts today. We're always available to discuss IT solutions with you.