Threat Intelligence Blog

Posted July 13, 2017

Cybersecurity is one of the top challenges organizations face. No matter the size of a company, it can be a target of hackers or susceptible to malware. As hackers become more sophisticated, using everything from phishing to social engineering to advanced persistent threats, organizations need advanced tools and expertise to secure their networks and data.

Most companies use passive cybersecurity measures to protect their information, meaning they have some type of security structure in place. While passive security measures are a vital starting point for securing a network, sometimes there’s a need to augment those measures with an active cybersecurity approach.

Active security measures, which includes a team of experienced analysts, can help organizations respond to and prevent advanced threats. Let’s take a look at both passive and active cybersecurity and how to balance the two.

Understanding Passive Cybersecurity

Passive cybersecurity is the foundation of protecting a system. It secures a network by limiting security gaps and exposure to threats through firewalls, anti-malware systems, intrusion prevention systems, anti-virus protection, and intrusion detection systems.

Passive cybersecurity aims to protect against threats without regular human analysis or interaction. While IT personnel may monitor the system, perform maintenance, install necessary patches, and respond to alerts, they aren’t necessarily active in securing the system.

In a sense, passive cybersecurity is the first line of defense, protecting your organization’s networks from vulnerabilities, reducing the probability of a breach, and giving insight into threat encounters. It provides layers of defense that require more time and effort for threat actors to circumvent.

As a real world example, passive cybersecurity is like a security system at your home. It secures your house with sensors, cameras, and alarms without you standing watch over your property.

But sometimes your organization needs more than the first line of defense. That’s where active cybersecurity comes in.

Understanding Active Cybersecurity

As a step beyond passive security, it’s important to have a team of security analysts who provide another layer of defense, respond to alerts, and analyze threats. Threats are becoming more advanced and sophisticated, so organizations need the right personnel to meet those challenges.

In active cybersecurity, analysts gather intelligence to prevent future attacks based on knowledge, experience, and real-time information on the external environment and internal networks. While a passive approach puts an alarm on your house, an active approach analyzes when, where, and how a burglar is likely to strike.

Taking an active cybersecurity posture can be difficult for any organization. However, investing in managed security services to augment your team can fill the gaps in your security operations. Just like local and state police departments sometimes need assistance from the FBI, in-house cybersecurity teams can benefit from outside specialists.

Cybersecurity can be a challenge for any organization as the threat landscape is always changing. Threat actors use a variety of methods to compromise systems. It’s important for organizations to use passive cybersecurity measures to secure system vulnerabilities, while at the same time balancing those methods with an active approach for emerging threats.

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