Within the first 10 months of 2019, 140 local governments, police stations, and hospitals suffered ransomware attacks. Among the prominent attacks in 2019 were the stealing of data of about 100,000 people from a federal subcontractor for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the compromise of hundreds of thousands of Asus computer owners via a secret backdoor planted in the computer maker's Live Update tool.
As an IT administrator or business owner/manager you can no longer rest assured that you've bought the costliest firewall or antivirus to protect your digital fronts. It’s no longer enough to react quickly—being proactive about threats and staying up-to-date with the latest in cybersecurity is the need of the hour. That's where threat intelligence software comes in.
This buyers guide will explain to you the basics of such tools.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
What is threat intelligence software?
Threat intelligence software is a tool that gives organizations a near real-time view of the threat landscape by identifying existing and evolving threat vectors. It helps you keep your security standards up to date and improve your network performance with detailed information on threats to specific networks, infrastructure, and endpoint devices. The tool can help you mitigate the risk of breach in security or loss of data, thus helping you build an effective defense mechanism and reducing the risk of damage to your reputation and bottom line.
Dashboard in Anomali (Source)
Common features of threat intelligence software
||Monitor multiple resources within the network in real-time or near real-time, and use data for threat detection.
||Identify threats based on current and historical data from various resources within the network. Some tools also apply machine learning to ensure appropriate detection and reduce false positives.
||Receive alerts whenever there is a potential threat to the network, with details on the source of the threat.
|Automatic threat remediation
||Set an automatic response mechanism for when there is a potential threat.
||Prioritize response to threats based on different security levels.
||Generate detailed and customized reports on the security performance of your network and information such as threat frequency, severity, and intelligence status.
||Manage and maintain a list of issues (or potential threats) over a period of time—also known as incident tracking.
What type of buyer are you?
The capabilities of threat intelligence solutions can vary depending on their intended industry and use-case. While some solutions such as IBM X-Force Exchange, LogRhythm, and FireEye can be applied to a diverse range of industries and use-cases, others such as LookingGlass and Anamoli are more appropriate for industry-specific use-cases.
Hence, before you select a solution, it's important to understand what type of buyer you are.
Organizations that operate within a niche industry: The threat intelligence of specific industries like finance, insurance, healthcare, media, or energy in typically very specific and usually have definite compliance requirements laid out by governments and industry bodies.
If your organization falls in this category, you should explore solutions that are designed with industry-specific threats and compliance in focus.
Organizations that are not industry-specific: Such organizations could either be operating in more than one industry, or might not be dealing with sensitive customer data. They also likely don't have industry-specific compliance requirements.
If your organization falls in this category, a generic threat intelligence solution with basic features such as monitoring, threat detection, and remediation would suffice your needs.
Benefits of threat intelligence software
Threat intelligence software helps you identify potential threats to your network and protect against security breaches and cyber attacks ahead of time. Its benefits are as follows:
Minimize risk of security breach: Gain insight into immediate and evolving cyber threats faced by your organization and take measures to prevent security breaches. Also, safeguard against potential loss of data.
Stay up-to-speed with potential threats: Cybercriminals continue to come up with new ways of hacking and breaking into secure networks everyday. Threat intelligence software helps you stay up-to-date with these developments and protect your organization against evolving threats.
Prioritize response based on urgency of threat: Get a thorough understanding of the vulnerabilities in your network, the potential threats they cause, their level of urgency, and how they can be resolved. Then, respond to the vulnerabilities accordingly.
Key considerations when purchasing threat intelligence software
The right threat intelligence software can not only ensure the security of all your data and network, but also save you a lot of money. However, picking software for your organization can get tricky. Here are a couple of points to keep in mind:
Don't over- or under-purchase: It is easy to get confused between threat intelligence software, security information and event management (SIEM) solutions, and vulnerability management solutions. While SIEM and vulnerability management solutions can provide some information similar to threat intelligence products, they also include features such as event correlation and incident response. Pick a software that is apt for your needs and not one that provides too many or too few features.
Weigh deployment options thoroughly: The deployment and delivery of the solutions can vary widely, from cloud-based (private, public, or hybrid clouds) to on-premise. Evaluate the deployment of the solutions and their cost implications thoroughly before choosing one.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.