How-to guides

Threat intelligence: The ultimate guide

Discover the importance of implementing an effective threat intelligence program to strengthen your overall cyber security posture.

Orani Amroussi | May 9, 2024

This guide explores the intricacies of collecting, processing, and deploying threat intelligence to safeguard organizational assets.

In this article, we cover the three main types of threat intelligence—strategic, tactical, and operational—and delves into the six-phase lifecycle of threat intelligence.

From understanding the role of threat intelligence in mitigating advanced persistent threats (APTs) to integrating it within various security frameworks, this guide provides actionable insights and data-driven strategies to enhance your cyber security measures.


There are three main types of threat intelligence which include strategic, tactical, and operational that provide security practitioners with context behind the indicators of compromise (IOCs) and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by malicious attackers. 

The 6 phases of the threat intelligence lifecycle include: 

  • Direction
  • Collection
  • Processing
  • Analysis
  • Dissemination
  • Feedback

Implementing a threat intelligence program is essential for securing an organization’s critical assets from potential APT attacks and data breaches.

What is threat intelligence?

Threat intelligence refers to the process of collecting, processing, analyzing, and interpreting data to gain a comprehensive understanding of an attacker’s behavior and methodologies.

Threat intelligence empowers organizations to stay one step ahead of cyber threats and protect their critical assets and sensitive data from potential breaches.

Threat intelligence feeds pull data from various sources, including internal security logs, external threat databases, open-source intelligence, and dark web forums.

These feeds provide organizations with real-time information about emerging cyber threats, malicious activities, and indicators of compromise (IOCs)


The importance of threat intelligence

Threat intelligence plays a crucial role in incident response by providing real-time information about an attacker’s tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs)  and indicators of compromise (IOCs).

Organizations need to have a clear understanding of what’s at risk and if their existing security measures are effective enough to handle emerging threats.

Security leaders and practitioners such as SOC analysts, incident response teams, and CISOs are able to make informed decisions from threat intelligence findings.

Data is poured over from both internal and external sources and analyzed to assess and prioritize mitigation strategies. 

Without a strategic threat intelligence program implemented, an organization leaves many blind spots and potentially high-risk vulnerabilities that might be exploited by malicious actors.

Open-source packages and code repositories have become prime targets for attacks in particular.


According to research taken from The State of Software Supply Chain Security 2024, the number of malicious packages found on open-source package managers jumped by 1,300% between 2020 and the end of 2023.

Threat intelligence can provide organizations with real-time insights into malicious threat actors targeting software supply chains and open-source ecosystems. 

Threat intelligence can also let an organization know if the existing security tools are effective at identifying high-risk vulnerabilities across infrastructures, supply chains, networks, and systems.

It also helps evaluate whether current risk mitigation strategies are up-to-date and if they yield a net positive ROI for cyber security investments. 


The main types of threat intelligence

There are three main types of threat intelligence, each with its own responsibilities and key stakeholders. Let’s break things down a bit further. 





Focuses on understanding the broader context of emerging cyber threats and how they may impact the organization’s overall business goals

Assists in incident response by providing real-time information on active threats and indicators of compromise (IOCs)

Provides a comprehensive overview of an organization’s current cybersecurity risk posture, including all the potential tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) an attacker might leverage to exploit vulnerabilities

Assesses the impact of a potential compromise and identifies which critical assets are at the highest risk

Enhances SOC operations through contextural security alerts about known threats and adversarial tactics. SOC analysts can prioritize findings and mitigate incidents that have the highest business impact on the organization 

Enhances vulnerability management by identifying known exploits and vulnerabilities. CISOs can leverage these findings to make more informed decisions regarding purchasing new security tools or patching existing systems. 

Supports incident response and reporting processes required for regulatory compliance. It ensures that organizations fulfill their obligations to report potential security incidents following various regulatory requirements and industry standards.

Provides actionable insights to detect and block malicious activity in real-time. Malware analysis techniques, such as Sast and Dast help analyze source code and behavior to uncover potential security risks and threats within the software supply chain

Supports proactive threat-hunting efforts by identifying emerging threats and anomalous behaviors within the network 



6 phases of the threat intelligence lifecycle


Direction Collection Processing

The initial goal-setting stage of the threat intelligence lifecycle. Identifying requirements is crucial to ensure that threat intelligence aligns with business and risk management strategies.

During the collection phase, organizations gather raw data from various internal and external sources. This typically includes metadata and logs from internal networks, open-source intelligence (OSINT), dark web monitoring, and threat feeds.

Processing transforms all the raw data collected into a usable format for analysis. Processing involves the normalization, correlation, enrichment, and data reduction techniques to organize the data and extract relevant information.




The next phase is to extract actionable insights from all the processed data. Security analysts can assess the risk landscape based on the collected patterns, trends, and indicators of compromise (IOCs) that may indicate potential threats to the organization. 

After thorough analysis, the intelligence is presented to key stakeholders within the organization, including SOC teams, incident responders, and the C-suite. This ensures they are informed about potential threats and risks, enabling them to take the proactive security measures necessary and allocate resources effectively.

The final phase of the lifecycle involves gathering feedback on the effectiveness of the threat intelligence program. Security teams can leverage the feedback to continuously improve the program over time to meet the organization’s evolving objectives. KPIs should be established and used as a benchmark for future program cycles to ensure success.


Threat intelligence use cases

Data correlation

SOC teams collect data from a wide range of sources, including intrusion detection systems (IDS), threat intelligence feeds, and external threat databases, such as CVSS v4.0 and CVEs.

The collected data is then normalized to ensure consistency and compatibility across different formats. SOC Analysts look for suspicious patterns across multiple data sources to identify potentially malicious activities that may go unnoticed when analyzed in isolation.

Correlated data is contextualized with threat intelligence feeds and known APT behaviors to provide crucial insights into the origin of detected threats, allowing for more effective and targeted response strategies.

Incident enrichment

Incident enrichment offers tactical insights into the TTPs of attackers. It also helps validate the credibility of identified IOCs by cross-referencing them with threat intelligence sources, enabling more accurate threat prioritization and response.

Incident enrichment also integrates with existing threat intelligence tools such as SIEMs (Security Information and Event Management systems) and SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response) platforms.

Analysts can quickly access relevant information from a centralized data asset inventory to enhance and prioritize threat mitigation decision-making.

Risk assessment

Cyber risk assessments are essential for mapping out all of the existing vulnerabilities within an organization’s critical infrastructure and systems.

Threat intelligence helps security teams assess the severity and potential impact of identified risks and a blueprint of where to triage efforts to prioritize their response actions effectively.

Risk management is an ongoing process. Threat intelligence can equip SOC analysts, incident responders, and other security teams with actionable playbooks to triage threats and improve mitigation efforts.

Read: Cyber risk quantification (CRQ): a practitioner’s guide >> 


How Vulcan Cyber integrates with advanced threat intelligence security tools

The threat intelligence market size is projected to grow from $4.93 billion in 2023 to $18.11 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 20.4% during the forecast period. Threat intelligence tools are experiencing high demand due to the rising complexity of sophisticated attacks.

Threat intelligence tools provide real-time information and guidance to support incident response efforts. This includes identifying the source of the attack and recommending effective countermeasures to contain and mitigate the impact of the incident.

Vulcan Cyber integrates with some of the most popular threat intelligence tools on the market. 

The table below provides a full breakdown of all the integration capabilities

Connector details


Recorded Future

Security Scorecard

Supported products

Mandiant v4 API

Vulnerability Intelligence

Security Ratings


Threat Intelligence

Threat Intelligence

Security Rating

Ingested asset type(s)

Websites – DAST

Integration type

UNI directional (data is transferred from the Connector to the Vulcan Platform in one direction)

UNI directional (data is transferred from Recorded Future to the Vulcan Platform in one direction)

UNI directional (data is transferred from SecurityScorecard to the Vulcan Platform in one direction)

Supported version and type


SaaS (latest)

SaaS (latest)


Watch video: How Mandiant Uses Vulcan Cyber for Intelligent Vulnerability Mitigation  >>


Streamline your threat intelligence efforts with Vulcan Cyber

Vulcan Cyber leverages threat intelligence to offer the most reliable risk rating for a given vulnerability. The Vulcan Cyber platform integrates with 100+ connectors, including the most popular threat intelligence tools, and correlates all data from a single unified platform. 

Vulcan Cyber collectors update all threat intelligence sources daily to provide the most accurate risk calculation scores to stay on top of the latest exploits. Make more informed data-driven decisions and automate mitigation processes with Vulcan Cyber. 

Get a demo to learn more. 

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