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May 9, 2024

Best Practices for implementing Cyber Threat Intelligence

Understanding cyber security threat intelligence is crucial to identifying and mitigating potential threats to networks and digital assets.

We look at best practices for implementing threat intelligence, the types, their lifecycle, and tips on how to use threat intelligence proactively.

What is Threat Intelligence

Threat intelligence (TI) is essential in today’s era because it enables businesses to gain insight into the motivations and methods of current and potential cyber threats, including industry-specific threats.

Threat Intelligence refers to the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about potential cyber security threats to facilitate informed decision-making and define protection strategies.

Companies that take this proactive approach can stay ahead of malicious actors by identifying potential vulnerabilities, understanding attack patterns, and predicting future threats.

Cybersecurity teams benefit from mitigating risks more effectively, improving the overall security posture of the network, reporting on emerging malware strains, indicators of compromise, specific techniques and procedures, and so on.

Benefits of implementing TI

The benefits that companies can gain by implementing Threat Intelligence range from improved threat detection capabilities or better response times, to better risk management.

As mentioned above, one of the key features is its proactive nature, which helps to continuously monitor and analyze potential threats from a variety of sources.

It is also a way to strengthen the overall security posture, making it more resilient to sophisticated cyber threats that can circumvent traditional security measures. In fact, it allows them to make informed decisions to prioritize security efforts and allocate resources effectively.  

Types of TI

To use cyber threat intelligence effectively, we must identify what intelligence to collect, analyze, and consume. According to the SANS Technology Institute, when defining high-level threat intelligence requirements, we must identify: 

  • Countries of operation
  • Business industries of operation
  • The main critical business assets
  • Types of adversaries that could target the business
  • Consumers of the intelligence gathered

In addition to identifying IT requirements, data quality must also be considered, as security teams cannot take action on large amounts of threat data. They need actionable, accurate, timely, and relevant threat intelligence against the latest threats.  

Threat Intelligence Platform

The importance of threat intelligence in cyber security lies in its ability to proactively identify and mitigate security risks, safeguard critical assets, and ensure operational continuity.

By adopting this approach, organizations can stay ahead of emerging threats, enabling them to strengthen their defenses and respond quickly to incidents that may arise. Its integration into security operations gives a holistic view of potential vulnerabilities and threat actors targeting the network.

This approach reduces the likelihood of cyber-attacks being successful and minimizes the impact of breaches, resulting in reduced financial losses and brand damage.

To achieve this, its lifecycle is divided into several key stages: 

  • Planning: Defining the objectives, and the assets to be protected and establishing the scope of your efforts. In other words, you lay the groundwork for the entire process, creating a roadmap for the subsequent stages.
  • Automated collection and processing: data is gathered from a variety of sources, open source intelligence, and threat sources. Raw collected data is selected, normalized, and structured for analysis, making it manageable and easier to use to extract information.
  • Detection and analysis: Processed data is examined, patterns are identified and potential threats are assessed to understand their impact. It facilitates faster incident detection and response, as well as the creation and implementation of defense rules.
  • Management and dissemination: ensures that generated knowledge reaches relevant stakeholders quickly, facilitating knowledge-based decision-making. Prioritizes remediation efforts based on threat knowledge and tracks vulnerabilities.
  • Feedback and cost and time efficiency: assesses the effectiveness of the intelligence gathered and the overall threat response strategy to refine and improve future security measures.

Threat Intelligence Best Practices

One of the great challenges of the moment is making sense of all the threat intelligence that organizations are subscribing to from a variety of sources: commercial, open source, government, industry trade groups, and security vendors.

Some of the best practices for meeting these new challenges are as follows. 

Selecting the right sources of threat data

Not all threat intelligence is the same and can vary from company to company. Therefore, the value comes down to relevance and accessibility, which requires selecting a customized enrichment source and aggregating data filtered by a variety of factors, such as geography, industry, infrastructure, risk profile, and so on.

Starting with internal data, events, and telemetry, complementing it with external data to contextualize information from internal systems, allows understanding relevance and focusing on what is of high priority for each organization.  

Determining who will acquire the data

While it may be fine to give access to threat data to a broad audience, it is a better idea to have a team responsible for acquiring and analyzing threat intelligence and only deliver information that is actionable.

Not all stakeholders need all levels of intelligence, so think about how the same report will affect and be used by various teams in the organization (strategy, operations, tactics). 

Structuring data for analysis

Threat data comes in various formats and needs to be standardized. The volume of information across the threat intelligence landscape is high and with different names.

Normalization is the process that compensates for this and allows information to be aggregated and organized quickly. An intelligent threat platform automatically ingests and normalizes data, structuring it in a uniform way so that it can be contextualized and prioritized, helping to focus on the most important threats.  

picture about azure synapse analytics and data base

Using tools to help with analysis

Data analysis is challenging but crucial for any company. A good threat intelligence platform extracts context and helps use the information in different ways for different use cases, as well as supporting different outcomes.

It is also important that the platform has a good understanding of which adversaries might be targeting high-value data, the tactics, techniques, and procedures to focus on, and what actions to take.

Select the right tools to make data actionable.

Analysis allows prioritization so that appropriate actions can be determined. With an open platform that supports two-way integration with the security infrastructure, elements of your threat intelligence program become actionable.

Intelligence can be shared in the right way with the right teams to achieve the desired outcomes at strategic, operational, and tactical levels to maximize value.

Threat IntelligenceServices

Using Threat Intelligence helps to build a stronger security posture, enabling organizations to adapt to evolving cyber threats and regulatory requirements.

Facing a daily barrage of threats at different data points may seem impossible, but having a specialist cybersecurity partner will be the best solution to strengthen defenses, accelerate detection, and launch stronger responses. At Plain Concepts we propose a Zero Trust security model, the strategy that will help you meet the challenges of today’s landscape.

Moving to a Zero Trust security model doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. We recommend using phased approaches, closing the most exploitable vulnerabilities first, covering identity, endpoints, applications, network, infrastructure and data


We have already helped hundreds of organizations evolve their Zero Trust deployments to meet the transitions to remote and hybrid working in parallel with the increasing sophistication of cyber-attacks and new challenges posed by the latest technologies. Want to be next? We’ll help you!  

Elena Canorea
Elena Canorea
Communications Lead