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The Benefits of Proactive Threat Detection and Cyber Program Management

Today’s cybersecurity threats can range from phishing to a serverless attack from a state-sponsored actor like APT 38. In addition, an exploited vulnerability severely impacts an organization, resulting in lost revenue and reputational damages. Approaching corporate cyber programs with a proactive stance ensures threats and vulnerabilities are detected and mitigated before they become a nuisance to critical business operations. Therefore, investing in proactive threat detection within a cybersecurity program allows an organization to remain focused on other essential business areas like expanding service offerings to loyal customers.

Because cyber threats can compromise even the most secure infrastructures, no organization’s cyber posture is perfectly secured – security is an ongoing process. However, with proactive threat detection and cyber program management, an organization can quickly identify possible vulnerabilities and tackle threats while they form. For example, in a recent attack on GitHub, malicious actors gained access to OAuth user tokens from third-party integrators of the application. Security experts quickly detected the impacts and responded swiftly to revoke unauthorized access to their systems. Had GitHub not taken this proactive measure, the attacker could have gained access to user credentials and modified packages in the repository.

In 2021, a survey by IBM predicted that the average time to identify and mitigate a data breach is 212 days. Moreover, the average total cost of a breach in the United States is around $7.91 million, with larger organizations losing $11.7 million per breach. To avoid such issues in the face of emerging technologies and increased market demands, organizations must take a proactive approach to threat detection to enhance their cyber resilience posture.

Despite the importance of these components, many organizations are still unsure what proactive threat detection entails or how their organization can achieve it. This article discusses the key benefits of a proactive cybersecurity approach and critical processes and operations that organizations can implement to facilitate proactive threat detection and cyber program management.

What Does Proactive Threat Detection Entail?

Proactive threat detection involves identifying security problems before they occur. Successful, proactive cyber program management ensures that cybersecurity threats are handled efficiently in today’s rapidly evolving threat landscape, enabling organizations to stay ahead of threat actors’ tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).

Proactiveness entails the following processes and operations:

  • Security Awareness Training: Proper training allows users to identify suspicious activities or events that could threaten a company’s information system. This training should be consistent, ongoing, and include several focus areas.
  • Automated Network and Endpoint Monitoring: This operation is designed to detect and alert on known and unknown (zero-day) threats, including insider threats using a combination of automated real-time monitoring, automated playbacks of previously recorded data, and manual analysis at critical points.
  • Penetration testing: provides comprehensive, up-to-date, and accurate intelligence on an organization’s cyber security posture by simulating the threat of experienced hackers and other cyber criminals intent on breaching your networks and systems.
  • Threat Intelligence and Hunting: Threat intelligence involves gathering information about existing and emerging threats, whereas threat hunting is a proactive approach that uses data analysis to look for malicious behavior patterns within an organization’s systems.
  • Compliance Readiness Assessments: These readiness assessments are designed to give companies a better sense of their compliance posture by identifying gaps in their security measures and shoring up any typically flagged weaknesses during compliance certification processes.

Organizations with proactive rather than reactive threat detection postures can better discover indicators for detecting and responding to adversaries’ activities. Such a system identifies threats early on, improving the organization’s overall security posture by allowing for anticipation of adversaries’ TTPs.

Key Benefits of a Proactive Approach to Cyber Threat Detection and Management

Occasionally, cybersecurity teams at a large organization are equipped with tools to automatically review data logs to identify a suspicious pattern of network activities during routine investigations. Leveraging a proactive approach to threat detection, such as automated log management, allows the team to employ protective measures, such as network segmentation, quickly to contain potential threats before they could cause damage. Now, that is the power of a proactive cyber threat detection and management process.

Unfortunately, small to midsize businesses that struggle with limited resources are often unable to leverage proactive security measures. For example, threat actors targeted a company’s domain controller using a staging platform to pass rogue commands to internal systems. Unfortunately, such malicious activities went undetected for several months, thus causing loss of customer information, proprietary data, reputational damage, and more.

Key benefits to employing proactive cyber management include:

  • The presence of a consistent resilient cyber posture.
  • Quicker compliance with major cybersecurity regulations and standards.
  • A clearer insight and visibility into corporate IT infrastructures and computing environments.
  • Identification of exploitable vulnerabilities (before threat actors discover them) and threats, thus allowing organizations to make informed decisions about remediation and mitigation.
  • An increase in customer trust and business integrity.

How Organizations Can Achieve Proactive Threat Detection and Cyber Program Management Posture

Organizations can stay ahead of threat actors by employing the following recommendations for a proactive threat detection posture:

  • First, invest in and focus on cyber defense and security operations.
  • Second, identify ways to improve internal awareness of current tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).
  • Third, implement the best practices for continuous monitoring related to people, process, technology, and agility.
  • Finally, improve risk management processes to manage potential vulnerabilities and threats.

Conclusion

Every organization today collects, stores, and transmits sensitive data in one way or another, thus making them a target for cyberattacks. Even though tools and techniques used in combating cybercrimes continue to advance, attackers also are finding new ways to penetrate organizations’ infrastructures. Therefore, the reactive approach to threat detection and mitigation is long gone.

An organization that fails to implement a proactive cybersecurity posture is begging to be compromised. As a result, all organizations should stay ahead of cyber threats by implementing proactive threat detection mechanisms, including penetration testing, incident response and disaster recovery plan tests, continuous infrastructure monitoring, purchasing cyber insurance, etc.

By leveraging a proactive approach to cyber program management, your organization will align its security countermeasures with the current and emerging threats to mitigate potential incidents before they impact critical assets of operational importance. Thus, organizations can better focus on other aspects of their businesses, such as driving revenue, staying ahead of competitors, and meeting market demands.