How Threat Intelligence Can Support Security Service Providers

Bitdefender Enterprise

September 12, 2023

How Threat Intelligence Can Support Security Service Providers

In recent years, more organizations throughout nearly all industries have become the targets of cyberattacks. The size and profitability of the organization do not matter. The only thing making them a target is being operational online and holding customer data of any form. Therefore, an organization does not have to be profitable to become targeted and suffer losses. Once an attack occurs and data is leaked, the organization’s credibility decreases, especially since most of its operations must remain online, along with other consumer data. Given this alarming context, organizations must strengthen their defenses and refine them to match the threat posed by the rising number of complex cyberattacks.

MSSPs Provide the Proper Protection

Regardless of the size of the company, covering all security areas with trained professionals is a complicated task. Small organizations may expect to have reduced security needs and no in-house personnel at all. Therefore, they will 100% rely on these services. Larger organizations may have a team of security professionals who can work well with the information coming from a managed security service provider (MSSP). And large organizations need all the help they can get, despite having their own teams of professionals on board. The bigger the organization, the more expansive its online presence, and thus the more potential avenues for cyberattacks.

As a third-party organization selling security services to businesses, a managed security service provider can offer specific tools and services or help set up a full network to respond to attacks. Their services include managed firewall, intrusion detection, VPN, vulnerability scanning, anti-malware services, access control, threat assessment, support for cloud-based infrastructure, spam blocking, and, very importantly, handling upgrades and system changes.

However, as complex as all these services are, they are not fully operational without threat intelligence, giving them actionable information to adapt to, foresee a potential attack, and limit its potential harm on the network.

How can MSSPs benefit from threat intelligence?

The main benefit of threat intelligence is that it turns an organization from passive – waiting to be attacked and hoping that the systems put in place are enough to prevent very serious damage – to proactive – taking real steps to prevent these attacks and being even better prepared in case they do occur, thus limiting damages even more.

Threat intelligence can offer MSSPs an extensive knowledge base of threat profiles, along with context for these attacks. This information can help an MSSP better focus their detection and response efforts according to the types of attacks conducted against specific types of industries. For example, if the main type of attack is ransomware (according to recent studies, 62% of organizations fear this threat the most), in the case of government organizations, knowing the nationality of potential attackers and the type of information specifically targeted may permit an MSSP to enforce even stricter access control in those areas.

It also makes sense for an MSSP to turn to threat intelligence when cybercriminals refine their attacks. Unless organizations have this information beforehand, they will only be able to learn from them after they happen and already create losses. With threat intelligence, MSSPs move one step ahead of threat actors.

Take a zero-day attack, for example, where malware is infiltrated without the organization and security team’s awareness. It may take some time for the damage to become noticeable, even if the threat exists since it has been planted and has started leaking data. How important is it for an MSSP to have all the information to detect and respond as soon as possible? Actionable information tells you where to look in certain places and why some things may seem in order and still raise red flags by detecting anomalies, placing the information in the right context, and updating security professionals.

Technically, MSSPs can gather some threat intelligence themselves by collecting data on malicious URLs, infection records, malicious C2 servers, and newly registered domains and related context. Some MSSPs will resort to getting threat intelligence feeds specifically to improve incident response, risk analysis, and, most importantly, to predict future attacks by focusing on attackers’ tools and the ways in which they operate.

This is no different from resorting to multiple security solutions, many of which do not work well together. Instead of providing a whole or complementary service that can be scaled according to the organization's needs, separate solutions provide overlapping and incomplete information.

To prevent this, an MSSP needs threat intelligence to gather as much threat data in real-time constantly, then put this information in the right context by performing in-depth analysis. Adapt all this information to the client organization’s unique profile and figure out how to act on it to prevent attacks. For example, by accessing threat feeds or getting constant updates on system anomalies, security professionals spend less time acting on potential threats than deciding which information to act on due to many false positives. A well-rounded threat intelligence solution puts information in context, so security professionals do not have to, saving time and helping them respond faster to threats and incursions.

MSSPs that have exceptional security professionals may have the upper hand. Their expertise may even help in making the best of threat intelligence information and can even work well with various intelligence tools and specialized services put at their disposal.

But to access this information, it is important to use actionable threat intelligence, meaning opting for a provider that offers contextualized and refined information. According to a study conducted by the CyberRisk Alliance (CRA) Business Intelligence unit, many MSSPs were looking at threat intelligence services. Half of them had already incorporated such services, while the other half were looking to do so soon, making threat intelligence the top planned component of their security strategies.

The newly updated Bitdefender Threat Intelligence solution provides information centered on threats, with extended context such as Threat Actor Attribution, MITRE Steps mapping, behavioral detection details, geographic coverage, and preferred platform typology of the victims. The solution provides scoring, confidence, and popularity index to help security analysts understand the severity, certainty, and prevalence of threats as they are occurring around the globe.

First-hand, contextual, and up-to-date insights from Bitdefender Threat Intelligence help organizations detect abnormal activity in their environments while providing actionable insights to help accelerate and guide response actions.

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Bitdefender Enterprise

Bitdefender is a cybersecurity leader delivering best-in-class threat prevention, detection, and response solutions worldwide. Guardian over millions of consumer, enterprise, and government environments, Bitdefender is one of the industry’s most trusted experts for eliminating threats, protecting privacy, digital identity and data, and enabling cyber resilience. With deep investments in research and development, Bitdefender Labs discovers hundreds of new threats each minute and validates billions of threat queries daily. The company has pioneered breakthrough innovations in antimalware, IoT security, behavioral analytics, and artificial intelligence and its technology is licensed by more than 180 of the world’s most recognized technology brands. Founded in 2001, Bitdefender has customers in 170+ countries with offices around the world.

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