Roughly 50% of IT managers worldwide say they use some form of threat intelligence, according to a new PriceWaterhouseCoopers study.
The survey, Towards New Possibilities in Threat Management, was sliced from PwC’s Global State of Information Security Survey 2017 that polled more than 10,000 IT managers of all stripes in more than 133 countries.
“We looked at the data from the global study and found that while roughly half the group were using threat intelligence tools, we also wanted to bring out that half the group are not using these tools and more work was needed in this area,” says Christopher O’Hara, a PwC partner who specializes in cybersecurity and privacy.
Data from the threat management study does show some positive trends:
- 52% have intrusion detection tools
- 51% actively monitor and analyze information security intelligence
- 48% conduct vulnerability assessments
- 47% conduct threat assessments
- 47% have SIEM tools
- 45% use threat intelligence subscription services
- 44% conduct penetration tests
“We think the number for threat intelligence subscription services is actually much higher,” says O’Hara, who adds that PwC recommends that companies consider using cloud-based threat intelligence products to more effectively manage emerging threats.
O’Hara points out that in the past, global companies would gather threat intelligence from each location. With cloud-based tools and more powerful analytics, companies can get increased visibility across multiple sites, putting them in a stronger position to respond to threats.
In the study, PwC says along with using cloud tools, companies need to develop expertise in the following four areas:
1. Ingest and surface meaningful, validated intelligence in real-time. Companies need to start by setting up a network of intelligence services, including the ISACs, and subscription services. The survey found that 50% share with and receive more actionable information from industry peers, while 45% share with and receive more actionable information from ISACs.
2. Assess the organizational impact of that intelligence. By using cloud-based tools, security managers can determine which information is relevant to their company. For example, a retailer would be more interested in transaction information while a medical practice cares much more about PII and HIPAA compliance.
3. Identify actions to mitigate threats. A good example is an ecommerce company that asks users challenge questions when they register online. A user might run transactions for several days or months then suddenly get prompted with a challenge question. Typically, this means that the analytics system has noticed a different pattern and wants to be sure the right user is being authenticated. They will then ask for a second level of authentication in the form of one of the challenge questions. While ecommerce companies routinely do this, more companies need to find ways to insert a second level of authentication.
4. Take prompt, technical, legal and operational action. Many companies take prompt action when an incident hits. Once an infected device is identified, they cut off the employee, shutting down the person’s laptop, cell phone, and any other devices the company has issued to them. They will also take an image of the computer, documentation that’s useful in the event the company needs to present the information in a legal proceeding, or simply share it with other industry peers or various government entities.