A Guide to Threat Intelligence Best Practices

Cyber threats are on the rise globally. News reports of data breaches are becoming more and more common, whether the affected party is a government agency, business, or an individual. If you need some motivation to take these threats seriously, check out these statistics:

  • The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million.
  • It takes an average of 280 days to identify and contain a data breach.
  • 52% of data breaches were caused by malicious attacks, 19% were caused by compromised credentials and cloud misconfigurations, and nation-state attackers caused 13%.

It is no longer optional to prioritize the cybersecurity of your organization — it is crucial. As you develop your cybersecurity plan, threat intelligence will be a key part of your security posture.

What Is Threat Intelligence – and Why Is It Important?

Threat intelligence is information you collect and analyze that helps you identify potential threats and targets, as well as the intention behind those threats. Good threat intelligence alerts you to potential dangers and enables you to prepare for them. It changes cybersecurity from being reactive (responding to attacks when they take place) to proactively preparing for possible attacks.

85% of industry professionals say threat intelligence is essential to a strong security posture. Threat intelligence helps your cybersecurity team:

  • Prepare for new types of cyber attacks
  • Better understand who might attack your organization
  • Get inside the heads of cyber attackers and understand their motives, goals, and techniques
  • Make better decisions before and during any cyber attack

Threat intelligence also helps your management team better understand the evolving cyber risk and the stakes involved. Threat intelligence helps you invest more wisely in cybersecurity assets and be ready to act if and when an attack occurs.

6 Best Practices for Threat Intelligence

When your team is performing threat intelligence for your organization, they need to follow established best practices. Keep reading for six key steps to developing your threat intelligence.

1. Assess

Threat intelligence starts with a detailed assessment of your organization’s digital and physical assets. Digital assets include:

  • Stored employee and customer data
  • Financial information
  • Business forecasts
  • Other proprietary information

Physical assets consist of:

  • Servers
  • Computers
  • Other devices

When evaluating your assets, detail where data is stored and physical assets are located. You also need to value each asset, so you’ll know the scale of any risks you identify.

2. Monitor

Next, you need to identify and monitor any ongoing or potential new threats to your assets and your organization. Consider any attacks you’ve experienced in the past, as well as attacks on similar organizations. Scour industry sources to identify trends in malicious activity. Brainstorm ways that attackers could breach your system.

This part of your threat assessment is not a one-off activity. Your team needs to continuously monitor technology and industry developments to identify new and evolving threats.

3. Analyze

Analyzing the information you gather is vital to defend against those threats and to identify more threats in the future. If you and your team do your jobs right, the threat intelligence you gather will lead to a greater understanding of threats and threat actors and thus further intelligence going forward.

4. Plan

Gathering information about a potential threat is useless if you don’t use that information to prepare a defense against that threat. Your threat intelligence should lead to the creation of a cyber incident response plan. This plan should detail who is responsible for each part of the response. This way, if a threat does materialize, no time will be wasted responding to that threat.

5. Integrate

Next, you need to integrate the intelligence you’ve assembled with your risk management activities. Your IT security staff needs to be aware of all of the potential threats you’ve identified, so they can better prepare for those attacks. Your threat intelligence will help your team identify and obtain the necessary resources to construct a strong defense – additional staff, new hardware, software, and cloud services. Your team should envision and execute a response to each of the major threats.

6. Automate

Finally, you should work towards automating your ongoing threat intelligence activities. A recent report found that an average of $3.58 million was saved by those companies who deployed security automation. The threats themselves never cease, and your team can quickly get overwhelmed sifting through all the new data. If you can automate at least part of the threat intelligence burden, it will free up your cybersecurity team to focus on defending against threats and performing other higher-priority tasks.

Include Wickr’s Secure Communications in Your Threat Intelligence Assessment

Your threat intelligence assessment should include the security of your organization’s communications. You can guard against potential threats by embracing a secure communications platform, such as Wickr.

Wickr provides completely secure messaging, audio and video conferencing, file sharing, and collaboration tools, all protected by end-to-end encryption. Contact us to discover how Wickr can fit into your threat intelligence assessment and reduce your cybersecurity risk.

Contact us today to learn more about Wickr’s secure communications platform!