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Reducing Operational Risk with Threat Intelligence

Posted: 19th July 2023
By: Sam Langrock
Reducing Operational Risk with Threat Intelligence

Recent headlines are littered with stories of companies being breached, private data being exposed, and operations coming to a standstill as the growing complexity of IT environments, heavy reliance on supply chain vendors, and motivated threat actors have increased operational risk for organizations of all sizes.

To summarize, operational risk refers to the potential for losses due to technical failures, human errors or omissions, internal processes or system failures, or uncontrollable external events. These risks can lead to business disruption, system downtime, infrastructure damage, fraud and more.

According to Splunk’s “State of Security 2023” report, 49% of respondents have experienced a ransomware attack and 46% faced brand impersonation in just the past two years. This suggests it’s not a question of if, but when adversaries might target vulnerabilities across your cyber, supply chain, or physical attack surface.

It should also be noted that cybercrime is increasingly lucrative for attackers, it’s projected to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025 Cybersecurity Ventures. To enhance their profits, attackers are becoming more automated, incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning into their arsenal. Additionally, “as-a-service” offerings for phishing, ransomware, and malware are lowering the technical barriers to entry, enabling less skilled cybercriminals to put business operations at risk.

To keep up, organizations must be prepared to make the right security decisions and build resilience at the speed and scale of today’s threat environment. Given the current landscape, security risk is synonymous with business risk.

However, reducing operational risk is no a quick fix, there are many challenges to overcome:

  • Detection tools only monitor traffic that hits your network, leaving them blind to various exposures and misconfigurations that attackers can exploit.
  • There’s no control over third parties in your supply chain ecosystem to enforce, detect, respond, or manage risks.
  • While some of your security tools may offer a partial view of defense strategies against ransomware, they often fail to provide a comprehensive picture.
  • Automation is growing in importance, but confusion frequently arises regarding how, what, and when to automate. Without properly answering these questions, automation strategies may fail due to unrealistic expectations.

To navigate these challenges, a strategic advantage is necessary – and threat intelligence offers just that.

How does threat intelligence reduce operational risk?

Threat Intelligence provides insights and indicators to protect against internal failures and external threats that may lead to business disruption (for an in-depth look at Threat Intelligence, check out our blog on “What is Threat Intelligence?”) At its core, security is a big data problem, threat intelligence serves as the connecting layer that distinguishes signal from noise, transforming data into actionable information.

Threat intelligence reduces operational risk across four key areas:

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Protecting your expanding digital attack surface

To support business growth, many organizations are undertaking extensive digital transformation projects that may take years to complete. Adding emerging technology to legacy IT systems increases the complexity that cybersecurity teams must manage. Additionally, as a business grows, so does its reputation, making it more likely for adversaries to impersonate the brand or executives to sow confusion among employees, partners, and customers.

Threat Intelligence enhances visibility into potential attack vectors, providing an outside-in perspective of vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and out-of-policy assets left defenseless along the digital attack surface. Further, threat intelligence can provide an inside-out view of digital risks, such as fake websites or domains, logo abuse, fake mobile applications, executive impersonation and additional risks putting your business in jeopardy.

Mitigating third party risks in your supply chain

Not only are businesses enhancing their digital channels, but they’re also increasingly relying on a larger supply chain network. Operating in a hyperconnected ecosystem means businesses must rely on multiple third parties including suppliers, physical locations, partners, software providers, software packages, contractors, gig workers and more. Lacking insight into supply chain risk presents a number of challenges, including a lack of real-time visibility into third party vulnerabilities and security posture, as well as limited protection from detection tools to highlight third-party risks.

Similar to how threat intelligence enhances visibility into weak points across the digital attack surface, it can also help provide insight into third-party vulnerabilities, the emerging threats they may be exposed to, and attacks they are experiencing to ensure appropriate mitigation controls are in place.

Defending against ransomware

Ransomware continues to infiltrate systems of organizations across the globe, causing business disruption, financial loss, and reputational damage. Supported by a multi-million-dollar industry, ransomware groups persistently innovate to bypass security controls and outsmart defenders. Due to the intricate web of threat actors involved, no single tool or detection method can effectively mitigate an attack.

However, threat intelligence on ransomware threat actors, their tactics, and targets enables organizations to proactively defend against ransomware attacks. Additionally, visibility into compromised credentials for employees and partners can help safeguard these accounts from being exploited for initial access.

Automating Security Workflows

Security teams continue to struggle with manual processes and keeping pace with a changing threat landscape, leaving them attempting to do more with less. This leads to slow responses to threats, lack of confidence in automation tools and workflows, wasted time on false positives, employee burnout and more.

Threat Intelligence helps security teams minimize manual investigation and research of security threats with real-time threat intelligence, integrated into the tools and workflows security teams use on a daily basis. In addition, automating manual processes reduces the risk of human errors and provides breathing room for analysts to focus on more high-impact activities.

How can Recorded Future help?

Recorded Future is the most comprehensive and independent threat intelligence cloud platform. We enable organizations to identify and mitigate threats across cyber, supply-chain, physical and fraud domains; and are trusted to get real-time, unbiased and actionable intelligence.

Learn more about how Recorded Future can reduce operational risk and securely drive business growth in our eBook: The Security Team’s Guide to Reducing Operational Risk.

Interested in seeing how Recorded Future can help your organization protect against operational risk, Request a Demo, and our experts will walk you through how Recorded Future can plug into your existing security tools and workflows to elevate your security defenses.