When it comes to the power of good intelligence, it’s important to first make a distinction: data is not intelligence. Data is the raw material that needs refining before it can become a finished product – the intelligence that can prompt actions that keep businesses safe and secure.
30 August 2022 – Data can typically come in four distinct forms: open-source data, available from the internet most of us use; underground data, which can only be found on places such as the Dark Web; premium data, specifically curated and often only accessible behind paywalls; finally, there is internal data, often purchased or produced by organisations themselves.
It is fair to say we live in an age in which we are ‘drowning’ in data, particularly when you consider that the volume of data worldwide has grown by almost 5,000 percent between 2010-22. But how do we make sense of all this data, and why does good intelligence matter to businesses today?
Understanding the intelligence cycle
In the early-2000s, having the greatest amount of data gave businesses an advantage over others, but as the volume of data has grown, its unit value has decreased. It’s now less about the quantity of data organisations have but more about how to best use it. But in order to make sense of the overwhelming amount of data at their disposal, businesses need to be able to find what matters and learn from it in a meaningful way.
To do so, it is helpful to follow a basic intelligence cycle that consists of five distinct stages:
1. The company considers what intelligence they need and why
2. Data collection is undertaken from all or a subset of the sources mentioned above
3. Data is processed by algorithms and other technology to read, contextualise and make sense of it
4. Analysts examine the processed data and use tools to analyse it and produce the required intelligence
5. The intelligence can now be disseminated back to the relevant teams and decision makers.
Once the intelligence is disseminated, key stakeholders can action it and use it to support their decision-making, as well as set new requirements for the next cycle. Of all the stages, processing of data is where technology plays the most critical role. Context and knowledge at speed is key for any intelligence operation, and humans are incapable of sifting through, reading and processing the amount of data available today.
Without the right perspective on threats and opportunities, a business’s decision-making abilities are significantly compromised, which can ultimately leave an organisation unnecessarily vulnerable.
Breaking down the intelligence silos
Silobreaker helps business, security and intelligence professionals make sense of the vast amounts of data which exist in the world. Using innovative tools and visualisations, Silobreaker helps contextualise and analyse data from a variety of sources. In doing so, it allows users to track threats, vulnerabilities, and malicious actors, as well as monitor developments in a number of industries, flagging up incidents or events of interest to customers.