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Learn about threat detection and response tools in Data Protection 101, our series on the fundamentals of information security.
Definition of Threat Detection and Response (TDR)
Threat detection and response is about utilizing big data analytics to find threats across large and disparate data sets. The objective is to find anomalies, analyze their threat level, and determine what mitigative action(s) may be required in response. The demand for threat detection and response solutions has grown as the volume of data being produced by organizations is increasing at an exponential rate.
Tools used for threat detection and response are designed to collect and analyze forensic data while being configured to monitor for, identify, and manage security threats.
Uses and Benefits of Threat Detection and Response Software
TDR solutions typically consist of software that is deployed to each endpoint device (often called endpoint agents or sensors) which connect back to a centralized management platform for monitoring, administration, and reporting.
The key benefit of threat detection and response solutions is their ability to automatically identify and respond to threats in real time. By combining behavior-based detection capabilities and deep visibility into data activity across endpoints, TDR solutions can catch threats that often go undetected by firewalls and antivirus. Sophisticated analytics are used to detect anomalies and patterns such as rare/suspicious processes, risky activities, and unrecognized connections.
Another significant benefit provided by TDR tools is correlation of data events across a wide range of sources. TDR tools can correlate massive amounts of data collected on the network and endpoints to offer prioritization capabilities such as threat scoring to let you know what needs your attention right now.
In addition, automatic alerts can be configured for particular types of anomalies and risky activities. When the alert is triggered, the security team can:
- Validate threats
- Eliminate false positives
- Browse recorded data
- Analyze and respond
From there, further actions can be taken in response to identified threats, including:
- Banning malicious files
- Stopping malicious processes
- Quarantining affected machines
- Continuous monitoring
- Forensic analysis
In addition to the benefits TDR tools bring for real time threat protection, they also bring other valuable benefits to organizations. TDR software is an excellent resource for building a baseline model of data activity across the enterprise, which can then be used to further refine detection of anomalous behavior.
The visibility and forensics capabilities offered by TDR tools make them a critical component of incident response and threat hunting as well, as both practices rely on TDR tools to drill into data activity and reconstruct timelines of malicious actions.
Finally, TDR tools help IT teams optimize resource consumption by giving insights into which devices are connected, and which are consuming the most bandwidth.
Endpoint Detection and Response
Best Practices for Threat Detection and Response
There are several best practices to follow when implementing threat detection and response solutions:
- Log all endpoints that serve as network access points.
- Configure alerts for risky activities. It’s simply not feasible for security teams to personally monitor the many, many activities that occur within a network on a given day. Utilize tools with rule-based alerts, allowing your IT teams to get on with their day until problematic activity arises.
- Opt for tools and solutions that provide real-time protection. Even with the best preventative measures (such as firewalls, antivirus, and application control) in place, continuously monitoring activity in real-time is crucial for today’s security teams.
- Bolster the protections offered by TDR tools with strong data protection measures, including data classification, policy-based controls, and encryption.
- Don’t neglect the human factor. As with all security concerns, the human factor is the biggest, and often the least controllable, variable. Ongoing employee education is key to minimize threats within the enterprise.
- Have an incident response plan. Prevention is still the best medicine, but do you have an incident response plan in place for the inevitable attack that gets through your roadblocks?
With automated threat detection and response, security teams can set up policies based on determined threat severity for individuals, devices, and the organization. These automated responses will react to the most dangerous threats in an instant, providing the level of real-time identification and protection that today’s threats require.