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Using Threat Intelligence to Improve HIT Infrastructure Security

Threat intelligence can allow organisations to gain insight into how to best deploy and manage HIT infrastructure security solutions

threat intelligence

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Advancing healthcare technology means that IT infrastructure security threats are becoming more sophisticated. A better view of IT infrastructure and the ability to collect and analyze threat data using threat intelligence can give organizations better insight into the kinds of cyberattacks they face and how to best handle them.

Evolving cybersecurity attacks cause IT decision-makers to question the value of their IT security infrastructure. Organizations need to know if their cybersecurity tools are working correctly and they need to make sure they are investing in the correct tools to fill security gaps. Wasting money on IT security redundancies is almost as detrimental as leaving security gaps.

Threat intelligence is cyber threat information that is collected, evaluated, and put into context. The information is analyzed and tested for reliability and applied to an organization’s cybersecurity solution, according to the Center for Internet Security (CIS).

Organizations can then better understand threats based on data points and use that data to understand how it relates to cybersecurity tools.

“Like all intelligence, cyber threat intelligence provides a value-add to cyber threat information, which reduces uncertainty for the consumer, while aiding the consumer in identifying threats and opportunities,” CIS explained. “It requires that analysts identify similarities and differences in vast quantities of information and detect deceptions to produce accurate, timely, and relevant intelligence.”

CIS refers to threat intelligence as a “circular process.” Data collection is planned, executed, and evaluated.

Once the results are analyzed, the results are re-evaluated for context to see if any new information can be discerned. The analysis of information is what separates threat intelligence from standard information gathering for security purposes.

“Intelligence analysis relies on a rigorous way of thinking that uses structured analytical techniques to ensure biases, mindsets, and uncertainties are identified and managed,” said CIS. “Instead of just reaching conclusions about difficult questions, intelligence analysts think about how they reach the conclusions. This extra step ensures that, to the extent feasible, the analysts’ mindsets and biases are accounted for and minimized or incorporated as necessary.”

The analysis step of threat intelligence is what allows organizations to identify gaps in their network security so they can assess and re-evaluate strategies as needed.

The Ponemon Institute released a report in late 2017 indicating that organizations understand that threat intelligence is critical to modern cybersecurity deployments, but many entities still struggle to leverage the technology. This is because organizations lack the staff experience needed to handle the amount of data produced and collected.

“It’s abundantly clear that organizations now understand the benefits provided by threat intelligence, but the overwhelming volume of threat data continues to pose a hurdle to truly effective adoption,” Ponemon Institute Chairman and Founder Dr. Larry Ponemon said in a statement.

“Threat intelligence programs are often challenging to implement, but when done right, they are a critical element in an organization’s security program,” he continued. “The significant growth in adoption over the past year is encouraging as it indicates widespread recognition of the value threat intelligence provides.”

Building an intelligent cybersecurity system is not an easy undertaking but a necessary one as organizations continue to adopt more advanced technology and ways of sharing data.

Considering tools such as formal verification can give organizations a more proactive look into their security infrastructure. Formal verification uses a mathematical system to analyze the design of the network and continuously verifies it as it’s constantly changing.

Proactive security tools can help organizations sort through complex layers of IT infrastructure such as virtual networks, cloud deployments, and firewalls. Learning how these tools can be integrated better can tighten up security.

Despite the continued struggles, threat intelligence is still seen as valuable and necessary for organizations that experience a high volume of cybersecurity threats. Many organizations struggle with how to deploy and manage the technology, but they still see the value in having it as part of their IT infrastructure security.

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