With recent announcement of IBM’s $200 million commitment to expanding its security leadership position in the incident response (IR) market, IBM is working to help clients address the challenges in adopting a more proactive approach to IR.

As part of the initiative, IBM established a new global incident response team. The mandate for IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS) is to deliver the next evolution in incident response management.

Organizations face an ever-changing threat landscape, which sometimes forces security operation analysts and incident handlers to make rushed decisions. IBM X-Force IRIS uses an agile approach designed to concurrently contain threats and obtain threat attack evidence.

The old detect-and-fix methodology may miscalculate the resolve of threat actors, inadvertently placing increased pressure on security operations teams. IBM X-Force IRIS prefers to implement situational preparedness and sound decision-making based on practiced response procedures.

Incident Response, Remediation and Intelligence

These tenets denote the team’s disciplines. Security intelligence, or cyberthreat intelligence (CTI), provides threat insight to IRIS’ response and remediation services. IBM X-Force IRIS consultants rely on threat knowledge produced by CTI analysts to accurately identify threats and understand the threat’s logical attack progression.

IBM X-Force Intelligence Services gets privileged access to IBM Security’s global presence, threat research diversity and X-Force Command Center’s security operations experience. In turn, IBM Security clients benefit from IBM X-Force IRIS-developed threat indications, vulnerability advisories and improved signature context.

Getting Ahead of the Threat

Attackers remain undeterred as organizations improve their compromise detection capabilities. Attributed persistent threat campaigns may have subsided against planned targets, but the skilled computer network attackers behind those campaigns often remain undetected. Their activities may not be as organized or regimented as they once were, but the techniques they employ have become the standard.

The amount of structured and unstructured threat data increases as the security industry works to increase the visibility of these evolving attacks. CTI analysts confront increasing threat information with little to no growth in the capacity to validate the latest security research.

Organizations with expert CTI teams to hunt threats in their environment may now find these teams are comprised of all-source generalists who manage threat information. The skills gap represents not only a shortage of people, but also the right skills to hunt for evolving threats.

Applying Cognitive Security

The next step forward is the application of cognitive tools for cyberthreat intelligence. Cognitive technology provides the means to stay current with the mass amounts of structured and unstructured data and assign context to known threats. Organization-run CTI teams may collect information about past threats and incidents and apply it to current findings.

Beyond this descriptive analysis, cognitive security provides the analytic capacity to be prescriptive and identify emerging threats based on threat identification models. This gives CTI analysts the time to become technical or subject-matter experts, define new threats and customize threat intelligence for decision-makers. Integrating the CTI analyst’s threat identification model within Watson presents a real possibility for decision-makers to take proactive steps toward disrupting or deterring the next threat activity.

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