One of the unfortunate realities of modern cyber-security has been how passive the act tends to be. Most IT professionals have to sit back and wait for a threat to emerge, usually only able to use their tools and experience after a strike has occurred. Even when the attack is unsuccessful, significant amounts of time and resources have to be used in order to minimize the impact of the intrusion. That is, perhaps, why an emerging trend in the world of cyber-security is threat hunting, a process by which professionals look at the field and tag emerging threats before they become dangerous to your business.
There are three goals to threat hunting – detect, isolate, and neutralize. Instead of waiting for an attack to occur, modern hunters and systems survey the landscape of the internet and look for threats that might be emerging. These can range from new viruses to patterns of malware attacks, but they all represent a looming problem for a business. Once the threat is identified, steps can be taken to isolate the threat and reduce its ability to do harm to the system. In addition, many of these threats can be neutralized by leveraging the tools available to the business before any data loss can occur.
In many ways, this process can be thought of as the intelligence gathering arm of cyber-security. It’s a far more active process than that which has been prevalent over recent years, but it’s a process that is nevertheless effective. By responding to threats before they reach maturity, businesses are not only given a chance to get ahead of problems but also a chance to avoid massive public relations scandals. Data security has become something of a hot-button issue in the public eye, especially with the major data breaches that have occurred recently. Choosing to hunt threats ahead of time makes a business looks like it cares.
Of course, this kind of hunting doesn’t eliminate the need for the basics. In fact, a huge part of this process involves making sure that a business’s cyber-security fundamentals are strong. After all, it’s impossible to go out and hunt a threat without knowing that you can handle the problem when it finally becomes active. Businesses that engage in this type of security are secure enough to deal with surprise threats that they can go out and effectively deal with threats that they know are on the board.
Engaging in threat hunting is the most pro-active way for a business to prevent data breaches and to avoid cyber-threat related downtime. This process does require changing the way that a business thinks about security, but it has the immediate payoff of making the business look more proactive to the public. If you want to make sure that your business is ahead of the curve when it comes to fighting threats to its data and online operations, it’s time to get out in front of problems and solve them before attacks occur. It is time, in short, to start hunting threats to your business.