Finding Business Value in the Vast Sea of Threat Intelligence
Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series is a collection of contributed articles written by thought leaders in enterprise technology. Delilah Schwartz of Cybersixgill crosses over the vast sea of threat intelligence, in search of added value by combining the right tools.
Given today’s expansive digital landscape and widening attack surface, the volume of threat intelligence data has reached unmanageable levels. However, there is a way for companies to overcome these challenges and optimize the business value of their cyber threat intelligence investments.
The continued acceleration of highly sophisticated cyber-attacks impacts countless organizations, their brand’s reputation, and their bottom line. This situation puts growing pressure on security leaders to effectively and successfully reduce organizational threat exposure across a rapidly proliferating attack surface. Without the means to identify the threats that pose the most significant risk to their organizations, security teams continue to fight cyber warfare like playing a game of whack-a-mole, addressing issues as they occur without successfully getting ahead of malicious actors.
Cyber threat intelligence plays a vital role in cyber warfare and is no longer a “nice-to-have” but a “need-to-have” weapon. With the right intelligence tools, teams can derive critical insights into the emerging tactics, techniques, vectors, and procedures that could expose their network to attack. But selecting the right threat intelligence products and services to maximize business value is not easy.
Finding Business Value in the Vast Sea of Threat Intelligence
Gaining an Accurate Picture of the Threat Landscape Through Context and Accuracy
The value of threat intelligence depends not only on the relevance and timeliness of the information but also – and perhaps more importantly – on the context it provides. For threat intelligence to be effective, it must support risk assessment with critical context about threat actor groups and their tactics, techniques, procedures, vulnerability exploits, indicators of compromise, and more. In its recent Market Guide for Security Threat Intelligence Products and Services, Gartner recommends that organizations look for vendors offering context-rich threat intelligence that can be customized and tailored for their unique threat landscape.
For example, through the combination of advanced AI, machine learning, and processing and analyzing comprehensive data from millions of online and dark web sources, organizations can receive early warnings of potential risks to their network. When threat intelligence blends context about each organization’s unique attack surface and assets, companies gain contextual, accurate insights into the nature, source, and urgency of each threat they face. As a result, security teams can operate more efficiently, knowing that they’re taking action to mitigate the most urgent, dangerous threats to their corporate environment.
Integrating CTI, DRPS, and EASM
With so much at stake and so many dollars invested in a wide range of cybersecurity solutions, organizations need to prove the value of their security stack. The need to show value drives a shift toward companies consolidating vendors and products to simplify their solution suites. As a result, threat intelligence vendors are beginning to integrate features from adjacent markets, such as Digital Risk Protection Services (DRPS) and External Attack Surface Management (EASM), to offer a more comprehensive cybersecurity solution.
When vendors add DRPS to their threat intelligence solutions, companies can proactively monitor their digital footprint across the surface web and underground sites, forums, and marketplaces, identifying and mitigating risks that could impact their brand reputation, customer trust, or compliance status. Additionally, integrating EASM discovery capabilities with Attack Surface Management (ASM) gives companies a comprehensive view of their unknown externally-facing assets so they can identify and manage discovered vulnerabilities and potential entry points for threat actors. By combining these solutions with threat intelligence, organizations gain a unified view of their complete asset inventory and overall threat exposure to proactively identify and mitigate risks to their environment.
Enhancing CTI Outputs with Data Analytics and Automation
The ever-expanding, continuously evolving threat landscape means the volume of threat intelligence data that organizations must understand and act upon is now unmanageable. In its Market Guide for Security Threat Intelligence Products and Services, Gartner notes that analytics, data science, and automation are becoming critical components of threat intelligence solutions. These capabilities are increasingly important because they can significantly reduce the time and effort needed to operationalize threat intelligence across large, mixed datasets and arms organizations with actionable, contextual insights. As a result, security teams are much better equipped to protect their assets and attack surfaces.
Automated CTI that autonomously infiltrates deep, dark, and clear web sources enables frontline defenders to extract, process, correlate, and analyze data in real-time — without human intervention or validation — and gain threat intelligence that is refined to their organization’s unique assets and attack surface. These benefits are more significant when adding features like graph analytics, link analysis, and rich threat actor modeling.
Additionally, advanced capabilities like entity extraction, visual graph analyzers, peer network analysis, and a customizable dashboard interface help organizations understand their threat exposure at a glance and quickly identify and prioritize the threats that pose the most significant risk. In essence, next-generation CTI solutions that blend robust analytics with automation and other cutting-edge capabilities give customers powerful data to rapidly respond to critical threats and mitigate risks before they can be exploited.
Tailoring Predictions and Risk Assessments According to Business-Criticality
With the amount of data available from millions of clear web and underground sources, threat intelligence can be overwhelming. Unless it is scoped and filtered for organizational relevancy, the sheer volume of data is nearly impossible to manage, resulting in a delay in incident detection and remediation and inhibiting effective decision-making.
Organizations can optimize their threat intelligence investments by developing a CTI program tailored to their unique business needs, risks, and objectives. By refining threat intelligence with the organization’s critical internal context, security teams can filter out irrelevant data and focus on the threats and insights that matter most to their business. Additionally, business executives are better equipped to make informed decisions and prioritize their resources effectively.
These benefits are another reason for integrating an EASM solution with CTI. EASM continuously discovers and classifies known and unknown networked assets that could expose an organization to risk, while combining the two technologies enables companies to tailor threat intelligence to their unique attack surface. Security teams can then monitor their complete asset inventory in real-time across the deep, dark, and clear web and conduct detailed, refined risk assessments to receive early warnings of emerging threats targeting the business. With this type of full visibility into organizational threat exposure, security teams can confidently prioritize their efforts and resources where they are needed most.
Final Thoughts on Threat Intelligence
The rapidly expanding digital landscape and proliferation of potential attack vectors have created an increasingly complex and challenging environment for security teams. The accelerated pace of technological advancements means that manual and hybrid solutions are no longer adequate to protect the expanding attack surface at the scale and sophistication of emerging threats. Threat actors increasingly leverage AI and automation, making it imperative for security vendors and defenders to incorporate these technologies in their cybersecurity strategy.
Given the pace of threat actor activity and the sophistication of their tools and technologies, organizations must embrace AI and automation, incorporating these capabilities within their cybersecurity programs to keep pace with the evolving threat landscape. By doing so, they can scale their threat intelligence activities, augment and optimize the efficiency of their existing teams, and provide faster time to insight and action. Ultimately, this will enable them to better protect their systems, data, and customers from cyber-attacks.
- Finding Business Value in the Vast Sea of Threat Intelligence - August 30, 2023