6 Steps To Build A Successful Threat Intelligence Program

Cyber security has been a critical concern for organizations, especially with the ever-increasing number of cyber attacks. Moreover, according to Statista’s report, in 2021, network intrusion was the most common type of cyber attack, with 56% of incidents. Because of this, it’s essential to have a proactive approach to identifying and mitigating threats. One way you can achieve this is by implementing a threat intelligence program. 

A well-designed and executed threat intelligence program can help you identify and respond to threats more quickly and effectively. In addition, cyber threat intelligence is a vital component of this program. It aims to provide actionable information on the latest cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and attack trends. Overall, implementing a threat intelligence program can help improve your security posture and minimize the risks of cyber attacks. 

If you’re wondering how to develop one, below is a step-by-step guideline to help you build a successful threat intelligence program. 

1. Define The Program’s Scope And Objectives

Defining the scope and objectives of your threat intelligence program is vital as it helps set the entire program’s foundation. To begin, you need to identify the specific threats and vulnerabilities the program will focus on. This step includes understanding the types of threats relevant to your organization. For example, you can specify threats like phishing attacks, malware, or advanced persistent threats. 

Once you clearly understand the threat your organization faces, you can set specific objectives for the program. Establishing measurable objectives and aligning them with the organization’s overall goals is best. Your targets may include increasing the speed at which you detect and mitigate new threats or reducing the number of successful phishing attacks. Defining clear objectives helps keep the program focused on the most critical threats. As a result, it can make a meaningful impact on the organization’s overall security.  

2. Develop A Collection And Analysis Plan

In developing a plan, you must ensure the program can gather the information crucial to your organization’s protection. To do so, identify first the various threat intelligence sources. These sources can include open-source information, industry reports, and intelligence from other organizations. With such data, you can have a broad view of the threat landscape and help you identify new and emerging threats. 

After identifying the sources, establish a process for analyzing and disseminating the intelligence gathered. It would be best if this is efficient and effective. Such a process can allow you to identify and respond to threats quickly. In addition, you should establish a system that prioritizes intelligence based on relevance and potential impact. This step ensures you can take appropriate action to protect your organization effectively. 

3. Establish A Process For Analysis And Dissemination

Establishing a threat intelligence analysis and dissemination process ensures that the intelligence gets to the right people in the right format and time. To achieve this, you’ll need to identify the key stakeholders. The stakeholders can include your security team, the IT staff, and other relevant departments. 

Next is deciding the format in which to deliver the intelligence. You can use various delivery avenues, such as email alerts, periodic reports, or dashboards. Regardless of your choice, the delivery format should be accessible, actionable, and tailor-made to the needs of the stakeholders.

If you define this process well, you can have timely intelligence delivery, leading to appropriate actions. However, it’s also best to have a strategy for handling false negatives. Such a setup can help avoid unnecessary actions. 

4. Implement Security Controls

In this step, you implement the relevant security controls to protect against identified threats. You can start by updating security policies and procedures to reflect the latest threats and vulnerabilities. Such sections as updated incident response plans and security awareness training can fall here. 

After that, the technical security controls come next. This section focuses on implementing firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, endpoint security software, and other cyber security features. You can also consider implementing threat-hunting techniques. In short, it’s essential to configure and implement your security controls correctly and regularly for effective threat prevention.

5. Review And Update Regularly

New and evolving threats mean it’s crucial to review and update your threat intelligence program to keep it practical. To achieve this, you can check the program’s effectiveness. This may include measuring its performance against your earlier objectives. After that, you can identify areas for improvement. 

Next, you need to identify new threats and vulnerabilities. Knowing the current threats can help you update the program and address them. In addition, you need to update your security protocols, controls, procedures, and incident response plans. Regular program reviews and updates can help your organization stay up-to-date with the latest threats and vulnerabilities. 

6. Monitor And Evaluate Continuously

Finally, you need to have a program that makes a meaningful impact on your organization’s security. This means monitoring and evaluating its effectiveness is crucial. You can analyze data from security tools and systems, review incident reports, and conduct internal and external audits. 

Continuous monitoring and evaluation can help determine if your program meets its objectives or needs adjustments. If it’s not as effective, you can cycle back to the reviewing and updating phase and make the necessary adjustments.  

Conclusion

A successful threat intelligence program can be crucial to protecting your organization from cyber threats. By following these steps, you can have an effective program relevant to your organization’s security needs. Take action today and build a robust threat intelligence program for your organization.