Guest Post: Using Threat Intelligence Services Effectively and Holistically

Northland Controls’ Matthew Scharnett highlights how companies can identify goals and outcomes early on in the process, leverage healthy data and focus on a holistic adoption.

Matthew Scharnett, customer success manager, Northland Controls

With events like severe weather, active shooters and civil unrest impacting companies of all sizes, the ability to monitor a company’s specific environment for threats has proven to be of great value in today’s world. One of the most popular ways of doing this is through open-source intelligence (OSINT), or the collection, analysis and dissemination of information that is publicly available and legally accessible to all.

However, for a company with a large footprint or a limited team to manually collect and analyze this information, a threat intelligence platform can automatically aggregate data into a single pane of glass. By using a platform, teams can increase their situational awareness while taking more proactive measures when accounting for and caring for their people. Additionally, because these systems hold less dependency on manual, time-consuming verifications, they can enable teams to act quickly and efficiently.

Understanding how to implement an effective, holistic program requires effort and guidance. Obtaining these services is a crucial first step, but having the proper understanding and utilization of these services can be just as crucial in achieving full effectiveness when protecting your people and assets. As a mechanic does not become a mechanic by simply purchasing a tool set, neither does an organization increase their situational awareness and security posture alone through the purchasing of a tool.

If your organization is looking to implement threat intelligence services, here are some things you should consider: identify your goals and outcomes early on in the process, leverage healthy data and focus on a holistic adoption.

Identify Your Goals and Outcomes Early

It is not uncommon for an organization to start their search without first understanding what it is they want to accomplish. Selecting the right solution will require some significant forethought into how the tool should be used within your specific organization and what goals you’re looking to accomplish. For example, identifying the measurable results that an organization is looking to track early on, such as response times, avoided impact and accountability, can help determine the overall success of the threat intelligence program. While any solution may prove to be better than no solution, selecting the right solution to support your overarching goals can help avoid any future setbacks or delays.

Leverage Healthy Data

Threat intelligence solutions that are expected to assess, report on and enable enhanced response plans are dependent on the intake of good, healthy data to function. With that said, organizations ready to integrate threat intelligence into their programs should be ready to integrate as many data sources as possible to get the most out of their platform. Whether that’s different sources of intelligence or pulling in employee-related data through a human resource management system, travel data, access control data or other dynamic location solutions, this data will better empower your response capabilities.

However, not only should data be pulled into the system, but your system should also be programmed to push information out to all employees using a variety of methods. Some examples include desktop alerting, message boards, mass notifications and other facility-based communication equipment. The more integrations between business-critical technology and the threat intelligence tool, the more viable, holistic solution you will create.

Focus on a Holistic Adoption

Gaining adoption of a threat intelligence solution within an organization’s workforce can prove to be a daunting task but is the single most important consideration to achieve the solution’s full potential. The overall use of a threat intelligence solution can often be viewed as inconvenient for those not properly trained on the system and can quickly become neglected by those who would otherwise benefit most. If your goal is to have an effective and widely used solution, leadership, operators and employees must all adopt the tool. The underlying goal of implementing a threat intelligence program is to inform and support employees who may be in harm’s way; however, if there is not widespread adoption, your goal becomes instantly harder to achieve because your incident response is hindered. When an organization has adopted a culture of response, employees become more receptive to the information and take notifications of active threats more seriously so that the organization is able to make better, more impactful decisions with their safety in mind.

A threat intelligence tool has a multitude of benefits for organizations looking to better understand the threat landscape in which they and their employees operate within. Focus on these key considerations to create a more proactive and robust security posture within your organization.

This article originally appeared in RISE Together, a newsletter presented by SIA’s RISE community for emerging security industry leaders.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association.