Cybersecurity is an ongoing challenge and grows more complex every year. While we’re all striving to stay informed and take a more proactive approach to protect our assets online, many individuals and organizations aren’t aware they’ve been hacked until it’s too late.

And this issue has been especially prevalent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as hackers take advantage of the shake-up and new work from home processes. Often, organizations trace incidents back to one thoughtless mistake. (Like when Bob in accounting set his password as his wife’s birth date.)

A security threat monitoring solution, however, can help you identify whether your information has been compromised early to help mitigate damage, thereby saving you money and preventing massive headaches (like account takeovers, compromised devices, and infected endpoints).

Before you choose a security threat monitoring provider, though, it’s important you take time to evaluate your options. Remember: Not all solutions are created equal.

Today, we’re sharing a few questions you should ask potential providers before you make your selection. But before we dive in, let’s recap what threat monitoring actually does.

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Definition of Security Threat Monitoring

Security threat monitoring is a form of surveillance that allows people or organizations to identify whether their information was involved in an attempted (or successful) breach. It might let you know, for example, if you were one of the 139 million users whose information was taken during last year’s Canva breach.

One form of threat monitoring, called dark web monitoring, goes a few steps further. This type of threat intelligence service browses the seedy underbelly of the internet (where cybercriminals gather to share and sell data) and alerts you if it discovers your information in the hacking community.

Having this information can help you identify where (or with whom) an attack originated so you can take steps to prevent further compromises and strengthen your security (e.g., changing passwords to avoid an account takeover.)

5 Questions to Ask Security Threat Monitoring Providers

Here are five questions you should ask as you evaluate solutions:

1. What sources do you pull from?

It’s crucial you find out where your provider is sourcing their information. For example, some monitoring companies scour public breach disclosures reported to state government websites while others may audit news feeds sharing the latest breach attempts and other cyberattacks.

However, the best type of monitoring services are those that have an “in” with the hacker communities and can access to the same information cybercriminals use to build attacks. Dark web monitoring allows you to be more proactive, and potentially discover whether your information was compromised before the breach even makes it to the news.

2. How is the information formatted?

Before you invest in a solution, you need to know how the provider delivers information to its users. For example, will they provide weekly reports? Or can you access information about all your most recent threats in real-time through a user-friendly dashboard? Will the provider share specific details, such as when the hack or attempted hack occurred and which sites or accounts it impacted, or are their reports more generic?

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3. What is the scope of information you collect?

Not all threat monitoring companies source and compile the same information. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask precisely what they gather and how they parse the data. 

For example, will the provider let you know what was compromised, or just alert you that your information was involved in an incident? Will they share additional details about the hack, or will you be responsible for doing your own research?

4. Will you provide any resources to help me bolster security?

When you discover your information was compromised, the next logical step is to determine how you can recover and reduce your risk in the future.

While security experts usually have their own protocols to follow in the wake of an event, those who are less IT-savvy may not know how to proceed. Be sure to ask your potential security threat monitoring provider whether they provide any resources, like checklists or guides, to help you in the aftermath of a reported breach.

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5. Can you provide any case studies or customer success stories?

It’s also critical you determine a provider’s credibility. Be sure to ask potential providers if they can share any case studies or examples of customers’ successes to demonstrate what their solution can accomplish.

2019 was a banner year for cybercrime, and, so far, thanks to the pandemic, 2020 isn’t turning out much better.

While there’s no way to completely prevent hacks, taking proactive measures and arming yourself with information can help reduce your risk. By investing in a sophisticated security threat monitoring solution (and carefully evaluating your options to ensure you’re choosing the right one), you can mitigate the likelihood of hackers causing damage.

Learn more about what our security threat monitoring solutions can do for you and sign up for your free account today.


Featured image by Christina at WOCinTech.