Businesses worldwide are forced to defend themselves daily from high-tech enemies at the proverbial gate. Cyberattacks around the world are expected to surpass $11 trillion in 2023, and that number is projected to rise to $20 trillion by 2026, according to Statista. As all signs point to the problem getting worse, small businesses are tasked with preparing a strong offense.
Many combat the problem by hiring cybersecurity analysts to research hackers’ methods through a process called cyberthreat intelligence. As cyber criminals become better at conducting attacks, experts in the field are creating risk assessments that help small businesses find any potential weaknesses.
While the digital landscape continues to shift, it can help to know where and how to keep an eye out for potential cyberthreats. Read ahead to learn all about cyberthreat intelligence and how you can use it to protect your business from the cost of cyberattacks.
Cyberthreat intelligence is an area of cybersecurity that focuses on the collection and analysis of information about current and potential attacks that threaten the safety of an organization or its assets.
By implementing this tactic, businesses can take proactive steps to ensure that their systems are secure. Through cyberthreat intelligence and analysis, data breaches can be prevented altogether, saving you the financial costs of setting any incident response plans in motion.
Cyberthreat intelligence aims to give companies an in-depth understanding of the threats that pose the greatest risk to their infrastructure and devise a plan to protect their business. Analysts strive to give their clients as much actionable information as possible based on any existing threats they find.
Part of the understanding that comes from cyberthreat intelligence analysis is why a hacker would attack your systems to begin with. Knowing the opposition’s motive can shed light on what areas of your systems could be the most vulnerable. [Related: How to Improve Your Small Business’s Cybersecurity in an Hour]
There are three kinds of cyberthreat intelligence: strategic, tactical and operational.
With enough information and forethought, you can implement the right tools to monitor for certain behaviors and conduct a potent incident response.
Numerous service providers staffed with cyberthreat intelligence analysts will work with your cybersecurity or IT team to hash out a plan for your small business. Once hired, the service will investigate and explain any potential threats your business faces and what you can do to keep those threats at bay.
Armed with that kind of information, whoever takes care of your network can make the appropriate adjustments. In addition to providing your company the proper tools to stymie any cyberattacks, cyberthreat intelligence can determine if you’ve already had a security issue. Through the use of indicators of compromise, intelligence analysts can determine whether your systems have been hit with malware that, if left undetected, could lead to stolen, corrupted or ransomed sensitive data.
One common type of malware is spyware, which can be installed on a system without your knowledge to obtain internet usage data and other sensitive information. This could be credit card information, customers’ and employees’ personal information, or other valuable data in a business setting.
Malware can become a costly problem for any business. In 2022, more than 493 million cyber attacks using a kind of malware called ransomware occurred, reported Statista. Ransomware locks systems down before demanding payment for the user to gain access. In 2021, it was used to shut down Colonial Pipeline, causing a gas shortage on the East Coast. Ransomware attacks are particularly costly. The average cost of a ransomware attack is $4.35 million, according to IBM, and breaches increased 41 percent in 2022.
According to Cybereason, 80 percent of victims who submitted a ransom payment experienced another attack soon after. Additionally, 68 percent of those attacked were asked for a higher ransom within only a month following the first attack.
When you discover that your organization has been attacked, time is of the essence. Take these steps immediately:
If your small business uses the internet to keep itself running, or if you store your sensitive data in a local network that’s connected to the internet, a cyberthreat intelligence firm may be beneficial.
Here are some options to help you select a vendor:
Businesses face new cyberthreats every day. Cyberthreat intelligence can help you stay one step ahead of threat actors. With the help of cyberthreat intelligence services, experts can serve as your lookouts and guide you with important risk management tactics. If you want to prevent your organization from becoming another cyber attack casualty, cyberthreat intelligence is essential to your business strategy.
Natalie Hamingson and Jennifer Dublino contributed to this article.