Cyber threat intelligence (CTI) is a frugal component of cyber risk management that is widely misunderstood. This leads to information overload that can be just as detrimental to a company’s security. Intelligence is information that can be acted upon to improve things and therefore drives outcomes. This means that for anything to qualify as credible, the data has to be drawn from reliable sources, evaluated by experts, and deemed to be accurate. It must also be timely and relevant to your company.

Types of CTI Experts

Quality of intelligence depends greatly on the person chosen for the job;

· Analysts have varying skill levels which make them suitable or unsuitable for your business. However, they must be able to navigate various forums on the dark web, understand the technical side of security, comprehend the risk to your business and decide whether the data gathered is good enough to present to the business executives.

· Defenders are often mistaken for analysts but there are stark differences. Defenders use tactical intelligence to improve network defense while analysts are focused on the entire intelligence life cycle and they serve different purposes.

Some analysts might focus on operations, translating tactical intelligence and reporting their findings. Others  focus on strategy, weighing the impact of the threat on business and explaining things to the CEO or board.

Threat Intelligence Strategy

By understanding your company’s needs and the experts you require, it will be possible to devise proper strategies. It might be extremely difficult to identify the names and faces behind a threat but with a good plan, you will be able to navigate many unknowns in the cyberspace and give yourself some edge over attackers. Before establishing a threat intelligence strategy, it is important to understand the four types of intelligence:

• Tactical threat intelligence: identifies methods of attack and tools used.

• Technical intelligence: refers to physical indicators of malware.

• Strategic intelligence: refers to high level data on changing risk.

• Operational intelligence: gives details of an impending attack

A threat intelligence strategy bears two main components – collection and management plan. The collection plan defines procedures and identifies the decision makers, their intent, and their concerns in relation to threats. This way the analyst will be able to prioritize matters and identify credible sources of intelligence including the dark web, internal, or external sources. It is their job to make sure that they present quality data that is relevant to previously identified decision makers.

Management plan involves choosing the right people for the job and taking proper action. Once you’ve decided on whether your problem needs an analyst or defender, proceed to lay out a process in which to communicate with decision makers. This way it will be easy for both parties to work at protecting the business from attack.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Collection and management plans are part of the traditional approach to intelligence, but as threats continue to emerge, so do the tactics for mitigation. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) is an emerging technology that organizations utilize to support defensive actions. Hackers often work together in forums so it’s only fair that security experts do the same. SIEM allows businesses across different industries to correlate and better analyze threat data in real time. Such a platform helps security teams identify threats that are specific to their organizations which helps reduce costs that would be incurred sifting through useless threat information. The greatest advantage of SIEM platforms is that they give businesses time to block and tackle attacks or degrade the attacker’s infrastructure. A SIEM platform can also take automatic action to block suspected malicious traffic. SIEM basically does all the work leaving the analyst to judge which threats are relevant to their business and enable quicker action.

A good threat intelligence strategy helps you understand the risks present in the cyberspace and ways of avoiding them. A business that is not well positioned for cyber threats is poised to fail. Attacks don’t always announce their presence so you can block or stop them as we are now witnessing unique threats with the power to work and multiply behind the scenes. Such threats hold businesses hostage until ransom is paid. Instead of waiting for such things to happen, prepare yourself with a good strategy that will save your systems from threats in the first place.

In the end, your only as strong as your weakest link. Manage the unknowns of your environment and make practical decisions to manage and convert them into knowns. It’s best to have a security specialist assist you with this process to avoid missing critical IT Security Issues.