As an enterprise, you used to worry about your competitors and your goal was to outpace them, to outservice them, and to outsmart them. Today, you can be the smartest and the fastest and have the best service and solutions, but it doesn't matter anymore because to "them" you are just another giant with feet of clay.
"Them" are your cyber opponents. They are referred to as hackers, state-sponsored attackers, corporate spies, hacktivists.… It doesn't really matter what you call them or what their motivations are. The fact is that you — more specifically, your business assets — are their targets. Simply put, it's about good guys vs. bad guys, both trying to make money in cyberspace. In that context, the Internet is analogous to a very bad neighborhood and, within part of it, an open war is waging where criminal organizations are trying to seize their fair share of the profits in a very unstable terrain and time period.
What can you do to protect your assets and investments? Part of the answer is that you must know your enemy, their tactics, your strengths, your weaknesses, and the battleground. In short, you need cyber intelligence. But for most organizations, intelligence is a complex concept to grasp. It is not about spies or "infiltrating" the Darknet, which, in reality, is only a tool and a tactic to generate intelligence.
In the enterprise, the purpose of intelligence is to provide security teams with information that leads to smart decisions and avoids decision-making cognitive biases. For example, a bias such as "trusting your gut" may be natural when you negotiate one on one. But gut-trusting in the context of a nation-to-nation negotiation with an individual who represents the complex interest of a country would not bear fruit. The same logic applies to the military, because without a profound understanding of one's own and of its enemy capabilities, and of the operation theater, lives can be endangered unnecessarily.
In the private sector, intelligence serves as a similar process and tool, particularly the current environment of massive digital transformation. Here, the role of intelligence is to collect, analyze, and produce complete, accurate, timely, and relevant threat assessments that inform decision makers as they act on the information.
Strong enterprise Intelligence programs are built on three pillars: strategic, operational, and tactical. The table below summarizes the three major pillars, who bears responsibility, and the goal.
The good news is that many organizations already have much of this framework in place. By borrowing and learning from it, security leaders will be better able to successfully deliver and grow their business in today's complex threat landscape.
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