The Ultimate Guide to Managed Threat Intelligence (2020 Edition)

Andrew Douthwaite

February 24, 2020

Cybersecurity is incredibly important for any organization, regardless of size or industry, and a robust cybersecurity strategy rests on real-time, accurate threat intelligence.

What is Threat Intelligence?

Threat intelligence refers to the information organizations rely on to better understand cyberattacks that could target, or are actively targeting, that organization. This data is used to craft tailored response plans so that the organization can identify, prepare for, and even avoid potential attacks.
All it takes is one well-timed, targeted attack to potentially cripple an organization, exposing private or sensitive information and potentially damaging or even destroying client or user trust. Threat intelligence provides organizations with the indispensable knowledge they need to build robust defense mechanisms and mitigate the risk a cybersecurity attack could present to both their reputation and their bottom line.
At VirtualArmour, we take a managed approach to SIEM. Unmanaged SIEM (security information and event management) has quite a few limitations, which is why organizations such as VirtualArmour offer managed solutions, which allow individual programs to work together seamlessly. This allows SIEM programs to do more than detect threats and send out alerts: A managed approach gives your team the data you require to make an informed decision about a threat and respond effectively to the continually evolving threat landscape.
A targeted attack requires a targeted defense, so studying potential threats is crucial to proactively defending your organization’s digital assets.
The Ultimate Guide to Managed Threat Intelligence (2020 Edition)

Why is Threat Intelligence Monitoring Important?

Your defenses are only as good as the information they’re built on. Without up to date and accurate threat intelligence, your organization isn’t able to craft robust and tailored defense plans to thwart targeted attacks. If you don’t know what sort of threats to look for, you can’t adequately safeguard your digital assets.
A good cybersecurity posture incorporates both general safeguards and best practices (such as firewalls, anti-malware software, employee cybersecurity training, and safe password guidelines) as well as playbooks for what to do in the case of a particular type of attack.

Common Cybersecurity Threats That a Managed Threat Intelligence Service Can Detect & Mitigate

Though the cybercrime landscape is continuously shifting and changing, there are still a few common cybersecurity threats that appear to be evergreen. To help protect your organization, make sure you have protocols in place to deal with these common threats, that all of your employees know what to do if they encounter these threats. In the case of ransomware or credentials that have been compromised via a phishing scam, you should also have safeguards in place to isolate or shut down affected devices or user accounts to help contain the situation.


Ransomware is a type of malware (short for malicious software) that is designed to lock users out of their devices or systems until a ransom is paid. Ransomware can quickly and easily cripple a business or organization by denying employees and other users (such as clients) access to critical files or programs.
Ransomware is usually delivered via a phishing scam or a doxware attack
For more information, including what steps you can take to help safeguard your organization, please read our blog post Everything You Need to Know About Ransomware.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams involve tricking users (including employees or customers) into believing the person on the other end is someone else in order to get the user to hand over sensitive or personal information, click a malicious link, or download a malicious file. Personal or sensitive information can include usernames and passwords, or financial information such as your credit card number or banking details.
For more information, including warning signs to look out for, please read our blog post Don’t Let Phishing Scams Catch You Unaware.

DNS Spoofing

The DNS (domain name system) works like a telephone directory for the internet. Whenever you enter a URL into your web browser, the DNS sends a request to the name server, which then checks its cache for the matching URL. If the URL is there, it sends you to the webpage.
DNS spoofing occurs when a cybercriminal is able to alter the stored URL in the DNS cache, redirecting users to a different, usually malicious website. This would be akin to altering someone’s phone number in the phone book to redirect their calls.
For more information, including what you can do to protect your organization from DNS spoofing attacks, please read our blog post DNS Spoofing: What It Is & How to Protect Yourself.


Cryptojacking refers to the unauthorized use of someone’s computer to mine cryptocurrencies (such as bitcoin). This is usually achieved using malware, which is designed to quietly siphon off some of your device’s computing power and some of your electricity to surreptitiously mine for cryptocurrencies. Though most criminals are smart enough to only a small amount of computing power so that your device’s performance is minimally affected in an attempt to avoid suspicion.
For more information, including steps you can take to help safeguard your infrastructure, please read our blog post, Cryptojacking: Because Every Currency Needs to Be Protected.
The Ultimate Guide to Managed Threat Intelligence (2020 Edition)

The Benefits of a Managed Approach

Keeping up with the latest threats and crafting robust yet flexible protocols to help prevent or mitigate damage should an attack occur, can be a daunting and time-consuming task. That’s why more organizations are choosing to outsource their cybersecurity, including managed threat intelligence, to experienced MSSPs (Managed Security Services Providers)
Choosing to work with an MSSP has many benefits, including:

Having a Team of Experts At Your Side

Not everyone’s an expert when it comes to cybersecurity, and that’s okay. Managed Security Services Providers are here to answer your questions, help you design and implement cybersecurity protocols, train your staff, stress test your defenses, and help you mitigate or even avoid monetary or reputational damages should an incident occur.

24/7/365 Monitoring For Complete Visibility

Threat intelligence is a 24/7/365 day a year job, so you need an MSSP that offers constant monitoring and gives you a birds-eye-view of your entire cybersecurity position. That way, when threats or potential threats arise, your team of experts can respond right away, and you can make sure you’re never out-of-the-loop.


Threat intelligence depends on a large variety of data, including log analytics (so that past entries can be reviewed later). However, depending on your industry, those logs may need to be HIPPA, GLBA, or PCI compliant, and you may have to contend with GDPR as well.
Your MSSP can help you ensure your logs and other security strategies you employ, comply with all relevant laws and industry regulations.

Incident Confirmation & Containment

Should a potential incident occur, your team of experts will be there to confirm what exactly is going on and help you contain the situation as quickly as possible. They can also help you mitigate or even avoid financial or reputational damages from a breach or other type of cybersecurity incident.

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