Security challenges

Eight ways to develop better cybersecurity intelligence

Published on 7th Jun 2022
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Looking to improve your organization’s cybersecurity intelligence? We’ve compiled eight ways to boost your internal capabilities and stay abreast of emerging threats.

1: Leverage government resources

It's best to start with trusted voices. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have the latest advice, guidance, training, and resources to assist your business. These organizations take great pains to make this information as clear and accessible as possible. The NCSC has been particularly helpful in guiding businesses through trending issues such as the Log4j vulnerability.

Keep an eye on these resources to understand how the cyber threat landscape changes. That'll help you protect your business from newly discovered vulnerabilities, new social engineering scams, and more.

For a more hands-on experience, in the UK, the NCSC brings together the cyber security community every year for CYBERUK. That's a conference event for discussion, networking, and plenary sessions for cyber security leaders and associated technical professionals. 

2: Test yourself

Acknowledging the sheer size and speed of the potential threat landscape is step one. A great way to test your own readiness is through penetration testing (or 'pen testing'), where a hack is simulated to identify weaknesses. 

Even if you're only starting to develop your cybersecurity intelligence, running tests and simulations can help you understand where you are and what vulnerabilities you might face. A pen test highlights issues within the system and gaps in your organization's response measures. 

Regular testing is the perfect exercise to show the benefits of improving that intelligence and make your cybersecurity approach more proactive. To better develop your security measures, take sole responsibility away from learning modules and annual awareness training, and put effort into credible participation exercises.

3: Demand more from vendors

Ask your security vendors how they're responding to heightened risk, and leverage the insights they provide to improve your company’s own intelligence levels. Engage in an ongoing conversation with these providers to understand their work, their software, and what they provide to help improve security. Join them at cybersecurity conferences, engage with their feedback teams, and get as much value as possible from that partnership. 

4: Invest in internal threat intelligence capabilities 

Consider your internal cyber threat intelligence plan to be an ongoing and ever-changing task. Proactively seek knowledge through credible sources of information – such as CISA and NCSC – and via active participation in threat analysis peer group sessions.

Make data access trails and activity analysis a priority, too. Suspicious patterns of activity are often just the tip of the iceberg. Look for the tools that allow you to track important information, but don't get bogged down by data; more information here isn't always better. Instead, look for tools that will help you to understand where you're vulnerable and give you the ability to get to the root of an attack should one happen.

5: Give employees visibility

While you might already be training on cybersecurity risks such as phishing, consider taking it one step further by empowering people to make smart decisions. Your staff could be the weakest link in your defense against hackers, but you can turn them into cybersecurity assets with the right tools.

Egress Defend, for example, detects and neutralizes sophisticated phishing threats while also helping employees to understand why an email poses a risk. That turns a potential mistake into a learning experience, boosting the ROI of your existing training efforts and raising cybersecurity knowledge across your organization. 

6: Share what you know

As you build your own cybersecurity knowledge and use tools to gather data, it's important to share this with other stakeholders in the business. Help board members, employees, and strategic partners understand their roles and the threats they may need to look out for. 

You can take this step further by sharing resources and knowledge with your suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders to help protect everyone associated with your business. It should be an ongoing process – keep investing in shared knowledge by attending relevant conferences and reporting back, keeping the security conversation open, and taking time to learn from others in your industry. 

7: Create top-to-bottom awareness

Have a plan for every leak, breach, patch, and threat. Does everyone in your business and supply chain know your IT leaders and security administrators and how to contact them? If not, this could be an important first step in creating more awareness throughout your business hierarchy.

It also helps if you consider whether it's your IT team running threat simulations. If this is the case, consider putting these scenarios to other parts of the business – this will help you better understand where a threat might come from and how it could be handled. If your business manages threats effectively on a broad scale, but a single team is caught unawares, the disaster has not been averted. Everyone has a role to play.

8: Stay curious

Be open to the latest technologies, proactively seek new ways of monitoring and assessing credible threats, and have a workflow that allows curiosity and questioning. Continue to evaluate where your vulnerabilities are, as threat actors are always looking for weaknesses, many of which could seem minor. Always keep an open mind about where and how a threat can begin.

Many of the resources for improving your cybersecurity intelligence are at your fingertips. They're being supplied by the government, your partners, and every link in the chain that makes up your business – all you have to do is reach out and take them.