Key Attributes for an Effective Threat Intelligence Program

Key Attributes for an Effective Threat Intelligence Program

Mature cyber-threat intelligence programs have a lifecycle and offer tactical, operational, and strategic value. Many business organizations are far away.

Cyber threat intelligence is the cornerstone of any successful security program. Businesses incorporating threat intelligence into their cybersecurity strategy can better respond to new threats and avoid costly errors.

Firms must be aware of the current threats and the actors that security teams may face to protect an organization and its sensitive data. To quickly identify attacks and respond to them, security teams must gather, analyze, and share threat intelligence.

The caliber and timeliness of the IT team’s threat intelligence directly affect their capacity to secure a network. Intelligence analysts need carefully curated, pertinent threat data to safeguard the most priceless assets of their organizations from enduring threats.

Cyber threats are persistent and ever-changing. Cyber threat intelligence gives intelligence teams crucial information about sophisticated adversaries and the information they need to make informed decisions about internal resources and security technologies to defend themselves against cyberattacks.

Mature cyber-threat intelligence programs have a lifecycle and offer tactical, operational, and strategic value. Many business organizations are far away.

A comprehensive threat intelligence program that includes security operations is necessary to stay ahead of external threats to comprehend adversary behaviors and get a clear picture of all the potential risks.

Where to Start 

1. Start with a Goal

To keep the organization safe, CIOs must first set expectations for what they want to do with the data they have gathered on cyber threats. Ensure it is feasible and implementable; otherwise, it risks becoming ineffective noise.

2. Detailed Deliverables

Who in the organization will be reading the reports and threat intelligence? CISOs must inform cross-functional security analysts, the C-suite, and the board. To make wise decisions, they must ensure the intelligence is timely, pertinent, and usable.

3. Recognize the threat environment

Businesses must be aware of their attack surfaces, vulnerabilities, and potential threats to the security environment. To safeguard their most important assets from potential threats, they should also review their current security procedures and the security tools and architecture they employ.

Cyber threats are persistent and ever-changing. Advanced automation and a comprehensive threat intelligence program (TIP), which provide a strategic advantage, are necessary for staying ahead.

People, process, and technology are the three main pillars supporting the organization as it climbs the maturity curve.

Climbing the Threat Intelligence Maturity Curve

Climbing the Threat Intelligence Maturity Curve

Sharing tailored threat intelligence with key users is a great way to increase understanding, show value, and win over more support for the program.

It also indicates that a threat intelligence program is maturing. Security teams should consider these factors if they want to start sharing tailored intelligence with key users or improve their current process.

  • Function

The threat intelligence team’s job is to deliver goods or services to a wide range of internal clients, each with different needs for threat intelligence to support their unique use cases. For instance:

  1. To add indicators of compromise to their SIEM watch list for monitoring, the security operations center (SOC) needs to contextualize. It is a strategy to demonstrate that they are important and relevant.
  2. Threat hunters need information about the campaigns to find an activity that has gotten past defenses. They need their adversaries’ goals, targets, tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP).
  3. The incident response (IR) team needs threat information about the adversaries, campaigns, and infrastructure to expedite a thorough response.
  4. To prioritize patching, vulnerability management teams need threat intelligence. This data helps them understand their threat landscape and the likelihood that cybercriminals will exploit a vulnerability.

The business unit, C-suite, and board levels of executive leadership require important metrics that give them confidence in the organization’s ability. The team should maintain a strong security posture and minimize damage during an attack.

  • Frequency

Each team has very different expectations and needs regarding how frequently they need to receive threat intelligence. The more time that passes in security, the more harm is possible. Speed is crucial because many security teams are committed to being proactive.

However, sharing information yet to be examined and contextualized for relevance to the organization wastes time. Threat intelligence teams can use automation to enhance and enrich data with context so teams can easily prioritize it for analysis and action.

This strategy will help teams get the right data faster. Board members have different needs than executives do. Setting up a regular schedule for more formal communications—at the very least, once a quarter—is a good place to start.

Threat intelligence teams should be ready to answer ad hoc queries from CEOs who inquire about a new vulnerability or threat.

  • Form

There is no one way of communicating. Since different teams will use threat intelligence in different ways and speak various languages, it’s crucial to take the time to figure out the best means of communication.

Actual feeds and dashboards deliver the threat intelligence many technical teams directly need to perform their particular jobs well. For executives and boards, a PDF may be preferable for some, while a customized dashboard may work well for others.

In either case, the information might be understandable and pertinent to business executives. Organizations need updates that include the “who, what, when, where, and why” of an attack or whether or not they should be concerned about a recent attack that made the news.

Sticking with the typical metrics generated around the number of events, alerts, and incidents per month has much less impact.

Also Read: Cyber Threat Intelligence: Why Accurate Tracking of Cyber-Attacks is Crucial


It is crucial to solicit feedback from a variety of customers. This can help firms ensure customers receive what they need, how they need it, and when they need it.

A threat intelligence program goes in both directions. Organizations must learn how the service is used. If it isn’t delivering, they must figure out why and make adjustments.

There are several ways organizations can do it, such as:

  • Change the frequency
  • Customize the threat intelligence
  • Adjust the format as needed to ensure the program is effective
  • Ensure the leadership and security teams value it

Halfway through 2023 is a good time for many teams to reflect on their progress toward the objectives they set at the start of the year. Conduct an honest evaluation of how well the teams are disseminating threat intelligence to various internal customers.

The organization must change its strategy to mature the threat intelligence program. There is still time to make relatively simple but significant changes that will demonstrate the threat intelligence program’s value.

Well-informed decisions will make it a go-to resource supporting the case for more funding when budgeting season arrives.

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