What Is Threat Monitoring, and How Can It Help You Prevent Cyber Threats?

09:08:2023

With the growing amount of devices with internet access and the application areas of artificial intelligence (AI) expanding, the number of known threats is also steadily rising. This is the technical innovation that has become part of our everyday news cycle. But the real problem only comes to light when we consider the threat actor groups that are now also using AI for automated attacks.

Not only are incidents happening more frequently, but they’re also becoming more difficult to detect, necessitating more advanced monitoring techniques as a response.

As we consider the contrast between attackers and defenders, it becomes evident that – for many businesses – cyber risk management is far behind the demands of the digital transformation, and it’s certainly not uncommon for companies to struggle with defining a suitable strategy. Meanwhile, recent developments show that hackers increasingly target critical infrastructure in the U.S., including financial services, health care, and nuclear reactors.

Well-informed threat monitoring not only makes for smooth operations, but it also enhances the security of essential assets. Let’s discuss how we can all collaborate to achieve that.

How Does Threat Monitoring Help You Detect Cyber Threats To Protect Your Operations?

Only a few years ago, cybersecurity meant protecting the servers and computers in an office complex from external attacks. Today, more people work from home offices.

Only a few years ago, cybersecurity meant protecting the servers and computers in an office complex from external attacks. Today, more people work from home offices. For a security team, that means tailoring their threat monitoring solution to facilitate more devices in a wider variety of network environments. Because a security incident can now be triggered in a number of locations, each policy needs to balance employee monitoring for suspicious activity with privacy protection.

In addition, more personal data is circulating online, which requires companies and government agencies in particular to take appropriate precautions while processing it. Inconsistent software and hardware standards may lead to vulnerabilities, which could, in turn, cause downtime and drive up expenses.

Aside from secure modernization, cyber threat monitoring is the magic bullet with which they try to face all these challenges.

This concept refers to the advanced screening and analytics procedures that provide insights into unusual network traffic, cyber attacks, or breaches. The idea is to understand the baseline of day-to-day office operations through data from laptops, smartphones, appliances, or even IoT sensors. That way, it’s easier for a technician, possibly guided by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to identify threats.

As is the case with any security system, threat monitoring combines different strategies for analysis, detection, and response. To become aware of various cybersecurity threats, you could monitor your network traffic, which would allow you to detect potential dangers like port scanning or brute force attacks. By applying behavioral analytics to continuously screened system logs, security teams can learn to differentiate the normal day-to-day from malicious activity or insider attacks and detect threats early enough to intervene.

Thanks to AI, ML, and data analytics, these solutions increasingly allow you to proactively measure data points that could indicate a data breach or attack.

All these data points then feed into a centralized security platform for the next step: detection. This requires advanced system notifications informing IT about unusual events and potential threats. To know which exposures other experts have already discovered, these systems can rely on reference materials such as the MITRE ATT&CK knowledge base. Thanks to AI, ML, and data analytics, these solutions increasingly allow you to proactively measure data points that could indicate a data breach or attack. It also means they can warn your team in real-time to enable quick threat management.

For the final step, the software needs to translate its findings back to make it actionable for humans. This requires a security information and event management (SIEM) platform or a security intelligence feed where IT can stay updated on recent threats and benefit from a holistic view on the entire organization. One example would be our Automated Kit Deployment (STAKD). Once the system reaches a certain size, it’s worth investing in a security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) solution as well to free up staff resources.

As should have become clear from the nature of the attacks mentioned above, a reliable defense requires regular updates and continuous adjustments to keep up with evolving tactics. No matter which systems and collaborations you rely on, make sure to revisit those regularly and to reserve time for adequate training.

One minuscule moment of carelessness can jeopardize an otherwise sound security strategy. Counteract that risk by educating employees about potential threats and recent developments.

What Are the Benefits of Threat Intelligence Monitoring?

You should never treat a potential threat as an isolated problem, as a managed detection can inform your future risk management and create situational awareness.

Especially compared to manual security measures, threat intelligence monitoring offers numerous advantages when protecting your organization from cyber threats.

The biggest difference by far is a generally raised awareness, which ultimately leads to earlier threat detection and mitigation. By continuously monitoring data points across your offices, you can understand the unique differences between your organization and general safety recommendations. So you should never treat a potential threat as an isolated problem, as a managed detection can inform your future risk management and create situational awareness. A more contextualized look on your organization enables you to focus on selected risks that are most relevant to your niche. This fine-tuned understanding of your security profile will allow you to allocate resources effectively when evaluating critical threats or recent software updates.

Having up-to-date intelligence on your usage habits and processing techniques will also help identify the most suitable tools and inform security policies. Like fashion, software and hackers’ attack patterns go through certain trends. While inwardly, more data allows you to better align your own behavior with security goals, outwardly, it lets you track these trends and prepare for the next one. In addition, it helps you to catch an insider threat early, which can be especially important when you’re handling sensitive information.

Thorough threat intelligence monitoring can also assist you in meeting compliance obligations by demonstrating proactive security measures and adequate incident response protocols. The U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recommends an incident response plan as one of the first crucial steps toward better cybersecurity, along with password hygiene, phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication, and user account privileges.

However, a reliable strategy also requires that your solution be flexible enough to scale with your infrastructure. As you add more devices and network segments, your organization will generate more data, possibly across new devices or software platforms, and your SIEM should be able to handle those while staying on top of upgrades and current threats.

Since you can share threat information with partner organizations, you can contribute to a collective defense approach and raise your own profile while strengthening everyone’s security. As an added benefit, a secure infrastructure lets you safely share the personal information you’re processing through secured cross domain solutions.

While they do help to save costs due to downtime and data breaches, there’s no doubt that a proactive investment in threat intelligence monitoring benefits your operations from top to bottom.

Contribute to National Security With the Right Data Protection

Data alone does not constitute protection. Only when you possess the crucial data at the appropriate moment, or are even automatically notified by an intelligent system, does the otherwise overpowering mass of information become a valuable asset for your online security.

A contextualized defense that respects your unique profile as well as current attack method patterns can help you meet compliance obligations and contribute to everyone’s security.

If you’d like to learn more about the exposures currently affecting your organization and how you can safeguard your operations, get in touch with our team.

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