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security intelligence (SI)

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Security intelligence (SI) is the information relevant to protecting an organization from external and inside threats as well as the processes, policies and tools designed to gather and analyze that information.

Intelligence, in this context, is actionable information that provides an organization with decision support and possibly a strategic advantage. SI is a comprehensive approach that integrates multiple processes and practices designed to protect the organization.

Elements of security intelligence include:

Log management: The collective processes and policies used to administer and facilitate the generation, transmission, analysis, storage and ultimate disposal of the large volumes of log data created within an information system.

Security information and event management (SIEM): An approach to security management that seeks to provide a holistic view of an organization’s information technology (IT) security. Most SIEM systems deploy multiple collection agents to gather security-related events from end-user devices, servers, network equipment and specialized security equipment like firewallsantivirus or intrusion prevention systems. The collectors forward events to a centralized management console, which performs inspections and flags anomalies. 

Network behavior anomaly detection (NBAD): The continuous monitoring of a network for unusual events or trends. An NBAD program tracks critical network characteristics in real time and generates an alarm if a strange event or trend is detected that could indicate the presence of a threat. NBAD is an integral part of network behavior analysis (NBA).

Risk management: The process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings. Such threats include financial uncertainty, legal liabilities, strategic management errors, accidents, natural disasters and information technology (IT) security threats.

Network forensics: The capture, recording, and analysis of network events for the purpose of discovering the source of security attacks or other problem incidents. “Catch-it-as-you-can" systems capture all packets passing through a certain traffic point, store the data and perform analysis subsequently in batch mode. "Stop, look and listen" systems perform a rudimentary analysis in memory and save only certain data for future analysis. 

This was last updated in February 2015

Next Steps

Access these resources to gain an in-depth understanding of security analysis tools and find expert advice on the benefits of security analytics software and how to use it to assist in gathering security intelligence data.

Want to learn more about protecting your organization against threats? Read our introduction to threat intelligence services by expert Ed Tittle. Then read his advice to on the types of hacker attacks and threats they protect against, what you should consider before purchasing a threat intelligence service and how to choose the best platform for your organization.

Expert Ed Tittel looks at the top threat intelligence services.

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