Now All Together

A 2020 research paper by cybersecurity think tank USENIX highlights a key problem with cyber intelligence data: Even though commercial threat data is expensive, it paints an incomplete picture of the risk to your company.

The research looked at two unnamed commercial cyber threat intelligence (CTI) providers and four unnamed free intelligence providers. The researchers discovered that, even in cases where CTI providers provided data on the same threat, there was very little overlap in that data. The study found the same gap between free and paid providers. The researchers concluded that, because even top-tier threat intelligence providers can’t provide the complete picture of risks to a business, there is limited value in purchasing the high-priced data.

Clearly, a single source of truth doesn’t exist for risks surrounding cyber threats. That’s why there are so many players in the marketplace. It’s also the reason that most organizations have to invest in multiple intelligence sources, and struggle to integrate those into various points within their security stacks. Still, the right investment in the security tools that can successfully leverage all available paid and free sources to eliminate or mitigate cyber risk can make an organization far safer.

I Want You, Correct Data

There is a multitude of data available to feed the security tools used by CISOs and other IT leaders. Free data provides basic information crowdsourced from attacks that happen globally every day. These can provide an invaluable baseline resource, and should be fully utilized in security tools and endpoint protection solutions that make decisions about blocking or allowing traffic.

Still, other data is only available via vast and expensive networks of sensors, through human sources, or through analysts and collectors with specialized and hard-to-find skills. This data can provide critical insights and predictive information that can help fill in some of the gaps in the free data, as well as provide predictive data that can enable a more proactive IT security stance. Unfortunately, these datasets are expensive to collect, and this fact is often reflected in the price to an organization.

It’s easy, especially for organizations with small cybersecurity budgets, to look at the facts and determine the free data is good enough. That the added value of a more thorough, though admittedly still incomplete, picture of the threat landscape is less than the cost. Still, it’s clear that specialized premium data sources can take a company’s ability to stop threats and strategically reduce risk to the next level.

Together We are Strong

One of the USENIX paper’s main arguments against the use of paid data feeds is the fact that, despite their cost, the data remains incomplete. This is true. However, with the right security tools in place, an organization can transparently benefit from a more complete picture provided by a combination of paid and free intelligence feeds to protect them from a host of known and unknown threats.

These tools can take several forms. Depending on how the data from multiple sources is combined and utilized, the result can either be a coherent risk assessment that allows a platform to make good security decisions transparently and with limited effort by your organization, or an IT nightmare trying to make tools and data sources from different vendors play nicely together.

In today’s post-COVID environment, workforces are dispersed and conducting work on a multitude of public and private networks, and on a number of devices. More and more of this work is being done on web applications inside the browser. Because the work environment is becoming heterogeneous and dispersed, the traditional security models are no longer effective. Keeping users safe in this environment requires a Zero-Trust security model at the browser level, and it requires being able to bring every possible outside source of intelligence and network data to bear on the risk mitigation process.

Conceal Can Do It!

Fortunately for your IT security team, ConcealBrowse provides a simple, cost-effective way to utilize all your existing security tools and data sources to make intelligent decisions about risk mitigation and safety in a Zero-Trust browser. While investments in user training around phishing and online safety can be beneficial, the reality is that no one is perfect and no one will make the right security decision 100% of the time. You want your people to be able to do their jobs and think as little as possible about security. That’s all possible with ConcealBrowse.

ConcealBrowse has plugins for a number of free and paid intelligence services and security tools that feed information to our “brain,” which determines the best risk mitigation methods for every clicked link or visited URL. ConcealBrowse lets you get the full benefit from combining all the free and paid data sources that, when combined, create a much fuller risk picture.

Learn more about how Conceal is influencing the future of cybersecurity.