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May 21, 2019

TIG 101: Everything You Need to Know About Threat Intelligence Gateways

Cybersecurity is advancing at a break-neck pace — which is all the better for the average device user, who remains relatively vulnerable to the majority of threats online. Among the newest protections available are threat intelligence gateways, or TIGs, which function like firewalls with extra features. If you are eager to keep your devices and networks as safe as possible, read on to learn more about how TIGs work, how to use them and where to get them.

What Is a TIG?

Before you can understand a threat intelligence gateway, you need to understand threat intelligence. This is a field that identifies the biggest threat to particular users and networks based on factors like location, number and type of devices, industry and more. You can collect your own threat intelligence using your own data like log files, incident response reports and alerts as well as external information like open source intelligence feeds, structured and unstructured data reports and email from sharing groups. However, doing this takes time and energy — and quite plainly, you likely lack the security acumen to apply threat intelligence effectively.

That’s why you need a TIG. A threat intelligence gateway is a device designed to solve all sorts of data management, policy management and tech integration problems suffered by device users big and small. Unlike other threat intelligence tools, TIGs take all the heavy lifting for themselves to offer users a straightforward solution to emerging online threats. Specifically, TIGs perform the following fixed-function security services:

  • TIGs consume threat intelligence directly, preventing the need for you to decipher threat intelligence feeds or integrate various types of security analytics into your network infrastructure.
  • TIGs are flexible in policy management, offering policy management dashboards instead of custom analysis and rule sets. This gives you (or your security team) more agency in configuring rule sets that work for your devices, network or industry.
  • TIGs streamline security operations, alleviating risk while reducing the need for individual integration and customized code. This isn’t to say that TIGs are set-it-and-forget-it devices, but they are helpful for cutting back on hands-on threat mitigation.

How Are TIGs Different From Firewalls?

We introduced TIGs as similar to firewalls, and even after an explanation of TIG functions, many security-savvy readers are likely wondering: Why would you add another box to your network if you can just use a next-generation firewall? Modern, next-generation firewalls certainly offer similar features to threat intelligence gateways — but the difference is that firewalls capable of filtering traffic based on  threat intelligence also tend to have a wide assortment of other jobs on the network. While TIGs have fixed functions that provide simple services, next-generation firewalls can consume an abundance of network resources and processor cycles in the effort to perform the same services, negatively impacting firewall performance and perhaps permitting some threats. It’s typically safer and more efficient to have both a TIG and firewalls, which will ensure a fast response time to threats and other requests on the network.

How Do TIGs Fit Into an Existing Security Strategy?

It makes sense for large networks to have a dedicated threat intelligence tool, but networks of substantial size typically also have vast teams of security professionals capable of monitoring, interpreting and applying unique threat intelligence. Thus, more often TIGs are invaluable to small and medium-sized networks, which often lack the dedicated attention of experienced security professionals but still suffer greatly from cyberattacks. What’s more, TIGs offer a level of customization, so you can set your device to a hands-off filter mode, or you can look closely at what your tool is identifying as a threat or permitting access to.

TIGs are affordable security solutions that provide a much-needed service, so they fit into most everyone’s security strategy. Not only do they keep a device or network safer from its most likely threats, but in filtering out useless and dangerous traffic, TIGs also improve a network’s efficiency, meaning you can get more done at a faster rate. Cybercrime is increasing, and though threat intelligence gateways don’t eliminate attack vulnerability entirely, they are a major step toward safer systems. It’s important that you acquire advanced security technology like TIGs to help you gain greater security against threats.

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