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Finding Success at Each Stage of Your Threat Intelligence Journey

Every week it seems there’s another enormous breach in the media spotlight. The attackers may be state-sponsored groups with extensive resources launching novel forms of ransomware. Where does your organization stand on its readiness and engagement versus this type of advanced persistent threat? More importantly, where does it want to go?

We believe that the way your organization uses threat intelligence is a significant difference maker in the success of your cybersecurity program. Just as organizations take the journey toward cyber defense excellence at their own rate of speed, some prioritize other investments ahead of threat intelligence, which may impede their progress. Actionable insights aren’t solely about speed, though fast-emerging threats require prompt intervention, they’re also about gaining quality and thoroughness. And that’s table stakes for advancing in your threat intelligence journey.

What is a Threat Intelligence program?

A Threat Intelligence program typically spans five organizational needs:

  • Plan — prepare by identifying the threats that might affect you
  • Collect — gather threat data from multiple feeds or reporting services
  • Process — ingest the data and organize it in a repository
  • Analyze — determine exposure and correlate intelligence with countermeasure capability
  • Disseminate — share the results and adjust your security defenses accordingly

When you disseminate a threat insight, it triggers different responses from various members of your security team. An endpoint administrator will want to automatically invoke counter-measures and security controls to block a threat immediately. A SOC analyst may take actions including looking for signs of a breach and also recommend ways to stiffen your defense posture.

Better threat intelligence provides you with more contextual information — that’s the key. How will this information help your company, in your particular industry, in your region of the world?

The Threat Intelligence journey comes in stages. Where is your program now?

Stage 1: Improving and adapting your protection

Within this stage most companies want to prevent the latest threats at their endpoint, network and cloud controls. They mostly depend on their security vendors to research and keep products up to date with the latest threat intelligence. However, in this stage companies also receive intelligence from other sources, including government, commercial and their own cyber defense investigations, and can use the extra intelligence to further update controls.

Stage 2: Improving the SOC and responding faster

At this stage, organizations advance beyond vendor-provided intelligence and adapt their protection by adding indicators from third-party threat feeds or from other organizational SOC processes such as malware analysis.

Within this stage, companies want to do more than prevent known threats with their tools. They want to understand the adversaries who might target them, improve detection and respond faster by prioritizing investigations.

Stage 3: Improving the Threat Intelligence program

Organizations with this goal know that their industry faces targeted threats every day and they have already invested significantly in their threat intelligence capability. At this stage they most likely have a team utilizing commercial and open-source tools as well as threat data feeds. They’re looking for specialized analysis services and access to raw data.

These organizations can proactively assess their exposure and determine how to reduce the attack surface. They apply threat intelligence to empower their threat hunting, either on a proactive or reactive basis.

Enter new actionable insights, next steps

Until recently it was difficult for security managers to know not just whether their organization has been exposed to a particular threat but whether they have a good level of protection against specific campaigns.

McAfee MVISION Insights is helpful at each stage of your threat intelligence journey because it proactively assesses your organization’s exposure to global threats, integrating with your telemetry, and prescribes how to reduce attack services before the attack occurs.  For stage one, organizations can proactively assess their exposure and determine how to reduce the attack surface. For stage two and three, organizations can apply threat intelligence to empower their threat hunting and analysis, either on a proactive or reactive basis.

MVISION Insights Dashboard

One way we help is by integrating data from both McAfee Threat Intelligence feeds such as our Global Threat Intelligence and Advanced Threat Defense, and also third-party services via MVISION APIs. While McAfee Global Threat Intelligence is one of the world’s largest sources of this information, with more than 1 billion global threat sensors in 120+ countries, and 54 billion queries each day, the key thing to know is that we have 500 plus McAfee researchers providing this form of threat intelligence as a service.  The idea is to help you elevate your threat intelligence at each step of your organization’s journey.

Check out the latest threats from a Preview of MVISION Insights.