Why Proactive Threat Hunting is Vital to Cybersecurity in 2022

It was once the case that cybersecurity was a simple matter of paying for antivirus software, ensuring your firewall was on, and avoiding clicking links in suspicious-looking emails. Of course, all of those things remain good practice, but it is also not nearly as easy as this anymore.

As cybercriminals are sophisticated and targeted attacks are more prolific than ever, you have to be sophisticated with your defenses too. Rather than setting up passive defenses and hoping they will hold out, it is important for businesses to take proactive steps to keep themselves secure. This is where cyber threat hunting comes in – but why has it become so important? 

Cyber attacks can end businesses

Businesses that suffer any kind of attack can be severely hampered by it in a number of different ways. Of course, there is the initial challenge of the threat in the system, which needs to be removed, and the cause of the problem remedied. But this is only the start of fixing the problems. 

Another issue that you will need to contend with is the reputational damage – admitting to customers that you have suffered a breach can seriously affect their trust in you to keep their personal data safe. This can be the catalyst for even very loyal customers to stop using you and turn to your competitors – the last thing you want. 

And for many businesses the financial strain of a single attack is too much for the business to stand. In fact, around 60 percent of small businesses that sustain a cyberattack close within six months. This shows just how important it is to invest in the right cybersecurity measures to keep your business safe.

Preventative measures are no longer enough

Unfortunately it is the case that many businesses are still heavily reliant on traditional forms of cybersecurity. For example, it may be the case that you are still using only preventative cybersecurity measures such as a company firewall and antivirus software. These measures were once the gold standard for cybersecurity, but things have changed.

Of course, preventative cybersecurity is incredibly important and still has a role to play in your defenses as a whole. But relying solely on them can put your business at serious risk. It is the case that cybercriminals have become more advanced and intelligent, and have many different techniques and strategies that are able to overcome traditional cybersecurity. 

Antivirus and firewall both work by simply blocking known threats. This means that if they see anything that contains the signature associated with any kind of malware or other cyberattack, they immediately stop it from being able to access the computer system. Sadly, there are many kinds of attacks that preventative software is completely ineffective against.

To combat those, you need to proactively seek out threats and find them before they can damage your system or steal data. 

What is cyber threat hunting?

An important form of proactive cybersecurity, threat hunting involves searching across your network, machines and records to look for anything that isn’t supposed to be there. This could be malicious or suspicious activity either relating to something being done inside or outside of the network. 

Calling on threat intelligence as well as gathered data, a threat hunter is able to recognise potential threats in advance and have them dealt with before they can become a cyberattack that could damage the business severely. 

Invest in technologies, specialists and strategies

Technology plays a vital role in good cyber threat hunting. Human ingenuity and creative problem solving is an important aspect of threat hunting, but so too is the gathering of data. With the threat landscape constantly evolving, it’s important to ensure that detection capabilities keep pace. And, to identify attacks, it’s important to not only use the best detection tools but also ensure they are fed the right security event data.

Implementing an internal cyber secure strategy is also an important step. Communicating new policies works well in any situation and sharing cybersecurity concerns and strategies across your business is crucial to safeguarding internal and external threats. By working to a shared objective to combat cyber attacks will enhance your protective defenses from the inside rather than being compromised. 

If you don’t have specialists in your team who can provide the advice and guidance you need on this, it can be well worth working with external and contracted cybersecurity specialists. They will have the information and experience to understand what is right for your business specifically to help you manage and overcome potential threats. 

Investing in proactive threat hunting is an expense – but increasingly it is one that businesses cannot live without. It is actually much cheaper to pay for good quality threat hunting and proactive cybersecurity rather than the huge costs of dealing with the aftermath of a cyberattack against your company. 

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