Why an Ounce of Cybersecurity Prevention is Worth a Pound of Detection

Tips & Advice

Cybersecurity detection is a criminal investigation. Cybercrime investigators are experts who are in limited supply.  Sometimes their hunt begins while an intrusion is in process, but more often than not, it occurs after the attack when a crime has occurred. The investigation is taunting and less glamorous, realizing that it can take an average of 228 days even to identify the breach[i].

At that point, you’re looking to find out what your adversaries have seen or stolen, you want to plug the holes that enabled the hack and kick out or remove the adversary completely. Figure on an average of 80 days to resolve and contain a breach. Meanwhile, your adversary spends the epic dwell time in your environment to monitor your traffic and behavior before determining their next move.

Do the math on that exercise and, unless you have generous funding, you may conclude that your resources stretch further by focusing on prevention rather than detection. While eliminating detection may not be practical, you can at least realign your spending and shore up your prevention efforts with enhanced actionable information.

Several things have happened to make this shift possible. First, detection is now often automated and highly productive. Second, advance warning is better than ever. You can apply predictive analytics to leverage in-depth threat intelligence sources to produce real-time, automated assessments of your security posture risks from device to cloud.

Proactive Threat Hunting

Making the shift from detection to prevention didn’t happen overnight for the Service public de Wallonie (SPW), the public administration arm of the French-speaking regional government of Wallonia in Belgium. SPW’s endpoint security team oversees 9,000 desktops, 1,300 servers, and 1,000 applications used by more than 8,000 employees.

When SPW implemented MVISION Insights, the security team sought to identify potential threats lurking outside the agency’s perimeter. Using data gathered from one billion sensors globally that have been distilled and analyzed by artificial intelligence and human experts, MVISION Insights provides comprehensive risk intelligence filtered for a specific industry and geography. It helps SPW’s security team to prioritize which threats and campaigns are most likely to target them.

Before making this shift, SPW’s team regularly spent hours checking out various security sites, lab reports, and news articles to track the latest threat campaigns. After deploying MVISION Insights, the same result arrived in seconds or minutes. Now they’re engaging in more proactive threat hunting and attack prevention by tapping into predictive assessments and adjusting their posture accordingly.

A Change of Posture

Organizations such as SPW illustrate that playing both offense and defense becomes necessary to reduce time-to-detect and dwell time. Detection is difficult for several reasons, most notably the deluge of advanced persistent threats (APTs). And it’s also complicated by the cost of threat hunting talent, given the current shortage of cybersecurity expertise.

These days there’s such an overwhelming amount of security data pouring into data lakes that manually aggregating and analyzing it to make sense of anything requires a fair amount of threat expertise. Then there’s the time it takes to triage and determine the following steps to thwart an attack. By the time you’re analyzing this data, at best, you’re in a reactive state with limited visibility and understanding of your local environment.

One effective way to streamline that process is to apply the proven MITRE ATT&CK® framework, which provides an excellent knowledge base to help with threat hunting and detection. We use that framework to better inform MVISION XDR powered by MVISION Insights, for example. As we mentioned in March, we align XDR with MITRE to greatly expand the depth of our investigation, threat detection, and prevention capabilities to prevent the attack chain with relevant insights.

Meet the Proactive Evolution Series to Help Become More Preventive

In our leading role in the cybersecurity community, we gather a lot of intelligence and invest considerable time curating content to ensure that what we share is timely, accurate, and valuable. This is reflected in MVISION Insights with over 1000 threat campaign profiles. If you place MVISION Insights in your environment it goes beyond threat intelligence.  You also gain prioritized threat insights on a likely attack targeting you, where your gaps are and what you can do. Introducing our new Proactive Evolution series to get regular information on how to become more preventive and protective with LinkedIn Live discussions, blog posts, and other intelligence from our cybersecurity expert contributors highlighting the power of MVISION Insights.

This new Proactive Evolution Series features helpful content intended for managing or building security operations to be more effective and preventive or for a CISO who wants to stay on top of changing best practices.

Detection is often done in reaction to an attack or a looming threat. Not every organization can do both detection and prevention equally well. That’s usually because they lack dedicated or experienced threat hunters or suitable detection technologies. By shifting your efforts to a proactive prevention strategy, you’re boosting your chances to harden your systems before an attack.

Click here to access McAfee Enterprise’s new Proactive Evolution Series content.

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