Nexon blog - Threat intelligence: Transform your data from hidden liability to strategic asset

Customer data has long been seen as the new oil for businesses to monetise. However, circling cyber criminals, privacy backlash and tightening compliance rules can turn valuable data oil into dangerous asbestos if it is mishandled. That’s where threat intelligence is essential.

Every business is increasingly in the data game. Harnessing the power of threat intelligence can be both the best defence and attack in an increasingly hostile digital environment.

What is threat intelligence, and why should it be on your radar?

Threat intelligence combines human insights with automated systems to collect, analyse and interpret data about potential cybersecurity threats, vulnerabilities and adversaries. It provides actionable insights organisations can use to proactively defend against, detect and respond to cyber risks, enhancing their overall security posture and decision-making.

With stricter compliance rules and penalties, the Australian Government’s 2023–2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy puts organisations on notice to better assess their data governance and manage the entire data lifecycle.

Why threat intelligence matters now

Proactive defence in a risky environment
Proactive defence in a risky environment:

Australia is among the most attacked of developed nations in increasing unstable geopolitical factors. Threat intelligence allows you to anticipate and prepare for attacks, not just react to incidents.

Data as a double-edged sword
Data as a double-edged sword:

Customer data is prized but quickly becomes a liability if lost, stolen or exposed. As the government strategy suggests, hoarded, ungoverned and unprotected data poses a significant hidden risk.

Regulatory compliance
Regulatory compliance:

The new government strategy will force businesses to report when they have experienced a data hack. Future rules may limit the hoarding of customer information. Threat intelligence helps you stay ahead of these regulatory changes.

Financial impact
Financial impact:

According to the latest McGrathNicol Ransomware Report, the average ransom payment made by Australian businesses with more than 50 employees has reached more than $1 million.

Reputation management
Reputation management:

By creating solid data management and protection methods, threat intelligence can help you maintain trust with your customers and stakeholders.

Your data strategy needs tech tools and human insight

To truly harness the power of threat intelligence and address the emerging risks of data liability, it must be more than just an IT initiative. Threat intelligence requires a strategic, human-powered and organisation-wide approach:

Align business priorities with data governance:

Align business priorities with data governance: Prioritise protecting your most critical assets and systems – your ‘family jewels’ – and minimise holding data that adds no value.

Integrate with existing infrastructure

Integrate with existing infrastructure: Rather than a disruption, threat intelligence should seamlessly incorporate into and enhance your current IT ecosystem.

Form cross-functional teams:

Form cross-functional teams: Bring together IT skills with business acumen at a senior level to ensure that technical insights are translated into business outcomes.

Balance machine and human intelligence

Balance machine and human intelligence: Automated systems are crucial for analysing high volumes of data, but human expertise is essential for interpretation and decisions.

Steps to mature your security function

Assess your data:
Assess your data:

Regularly review what data you’re collecting, how long you’re storing it, and whether it is necessary for your business operations.

Run regular threat briefings
Run regular threat briefings:

Keep your executive team informed about the evolving threat landscape and its potential impact on your business.

Create feedback loops
Create feedback loops:

Continuously refine your threat intelligence processes based on real-world outcomes and changing business needs.

Invest in training
Invest in training:

Human error, oversight or ignorance is always a soft spot. Equip your team with the skills to effectively interpret and act on threat intelligence. People are still your most valuable asset in early threat detection.

Keep innovating
Keep innovating:

Threat intelligence technology is evolving, with machine learning algorithms that predict threats based on historical data, automated threat hunting to proactively search for hidden adversaries in your network, and threat intelligence platforms (TIPs) that aggregate, correlate and analyse threat data from multiple sources in real time.

Adopting this strategic human-tech approach to threat intelligence and data management improves your security posture and creates a competitive advantage. You’re positioning your organisation to innovate faster with more confidence and resilience.

The question isn’t whether you can afford to invest in these areas – it’s whether you can afford not to.

Paul Edmondson is Head of Cyber Security Sales at Nexon Asia Pacific. For more information about Nexon’s cyber security solutions and services, contact Nexon today.