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Proactive threat
detection and
response: Three
improvements

Author: Poornima Apte

The average cost of a data breach in 2020 was $4.24 million, according to an IBM report, and Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report shows that incident-related events like ransomware can carry costs into the millions. Given the steep price of becoming a victim of cyber-crime, rapid and proactive threat detection and response are key to mitigating the fallout from such cyber attacks.

The data landscape today is markedly different from even five years ago. Digital transformation and integration between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) have broadened the definition of an asset. The expansion of cloud-based servers and software as a service (SaaS) programs all mean that your business defenses are only as strong as the weakest link.

Given the increased complexity and redefined perimeter security, your business needs a fresh look at threat detection and response. You'll need to focus on security as a program with human-powered threat hunting on the most relevant detections. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will play a key role in proactive threat detection and in sifting the data to deliver meaningful threat intelligence you can act on.

How teams can improve proactive threat detection and response

Although security teams need to occasionally step back and reexamine their strategy holistically, sometimes it can help to consider a small handful of fixes that can be layered on within the current strategy. These include:

  • Inventorying assets. The concept of a walled-perimeter around well-defined assets has become, for the most part, obsolete given the new dynamic of a highly-connected supply chain and an increasingly mobile-workforce.  Security teams need to evaluate where their data is flowing from and, equally important, where it's flowing to. Such an exercise enables your business to understand data flow and the traffic you need to keep an eye on.
  • Constant monitoring. Businesses can't afford to take their eyes off the ball. Analyzing traffic patterns and identifying vulnerabilities and compromises is an essential and easily fixed aspect of cyber security.
  • Proactive threat detection and response playbook. It's no longer a question of "if" a cyber attack will occur; it's a question of "when." Accepting that your business will eventually be a target, rapid threat detection and response can help to alleviate deep damage. Security teams can stage what-if scenarios in a playbook that's readily available to all stakeholders. Having a plan of action in place can help to decrease response time to threats.

Threat mitigation: Tools and partnerships to lean on

While you staff for employees who can focus on cyber security, the scale of the challenge might call for external experts to complement your talent bench to help with threat mitigation.

Tools like security information and event management (SIEM) can help your business sift through log data across the tech stack. It can update security teams about compromises and complement vulnerability scanners.

The work of cyber security is becoming so complex, however, that your business will need to get more intelligent about sifting worrisome intrusions from the pile. Since the more you go fishing, the more fish you're likely to find, you could automate some of the security operations at scale.

Such automation using AI is what a security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) platform enables. SOAR is a multipronged approach that aggregates data from a wide variety of relevant sources and provides a single view of the landscape. It can help to automate analysis, vulnerability checking and scanning tasks. Tasks that can't be easily automated are orchestrated to follow a specific playbook. Essentially, SOAR can help your business get more strategic about its cyber security programs. SOAR and SIEM together can form a part of your company's network detection and response.

As digital transformation accelerates, the hybrid workforce grows and the frequency of breaches increases, your business will need smarter ways of addressing cyber security. You'll need to work with transformative technologies without compromising data. Strategic partnerships and the right tools for threat detection and response are important to maintaining a competitive edge.

Learn more about network threat detection and how it can help with proactive threat detection and response.