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A Small Business Guide To Threat Detection And Response

Cybersecurity continues to be a key area in business management as the internet evolves. This evolution brings with it a growing range of risks and challenges that a small business has to be aware of. Where big enterprises have budgets to dedicate to making sure they are safe from attacks, small businesses tend to lag behind, assuming safety and invisibility. But that’s far from being true. It would take even an amateur hacker to find and break your password if you do not set up the necessary protocol. You are more vulnerable than you might want to acknowledge.

To be a cut above the rest, you’ll have to recognize the presence of this risk and create a threat detection and response (TDR) strategy for your business. This way, your business is prepared to act proactively as opposed to waiting for a purely responsive approach.

What Is Threat Detection And Response or TDR?

TDR is when you comprehensively scan your entire organization’s IT system and security posture. This is to find out if there are any vulnerabilities or suspicious activities that might put the network at risk. It’s usually best to employ a contractor like Castra, which specializes in TDR to assess your system. When they notice any of these weaknesses, their next step will be to draft a strategy on how to respond to these threats, present or imminent.

Before diving into the ‘how’ of the process, here are prevalent examples of threats you might need to prepare against:

  • Malware: Malware can block your access to important parts of your network, destroy your system, or harvest data. There are different further categories of malware, including:

– Spyware

– Ransomware

– Trojan Horses

– Scareware

  • Phishing: This is a social engineering method that attempts to make you believe that you are interacting with a legit organization’s website via email or other platforms, when in fact, you are not. It can be general or very specialized (e.g. spear phishing).
  • DDoS: DDoS stands for distributed denial-of-service. This attack depends on sending bots and botnets to attempt to overwhelm, and therefore, disrupt your servers until they are sufficiently compromised.
  • Blended Threat: As the name suggests, this method is a mix of different techniques. It employs specific Trojan, backdoor, and worm functionalities to attack a target system at the same time.
  • Zero-Day Threat: A zero-day or zero-hour threat focuses on those specific vulnerabilities that your software developer did not notice. They are effective precisely because they are hard to prepare for.
  • Advanced Persistent Threat (APT): An APT tracks and gathers your intelligence over a long period. It’s a method usually used by some states or groups sponsored by such states.

Detecting And Responding To Threats

As you build your system to defend it from and predict threats, it’s integral to note that some sophisticated actors might still be able to bypass your systems. Knowing that cybercriminals are also gaining sophistication almost as fast as security is—sometimes even faster—can help you approach your TDR more thoroughly.

Here are some steps for a robust process:

1. Asset Discovery

It’s important to discover all active and inactive assets that are on your network. These might include mobile, cloud, and virtual devices on top of your on-premise servers. Discovering all assets that your system is supporting is the first step to building security, as you want to be able secure each of these assets as well as keep them within your radar.

2. Vulnerability Scan

Now that you know your assets, it’s time to scan them and the entire system for weak points and vulnerabilities. A vulnerability scan will most likely, because of its intrusiveness, interrupt your code, potentially causing multiple reboots and system errors. All of this might temporarily slow you down. Nonetheless, it’s a procedure of great importance that you’ll want to prioritize.

3. Network Traffic Analysis

This method helps you reduce your network’s attack surface. It also optimizes your security stance by monitoring activity and availability to spot any oddities in the system’s security as well as its operation. It usually includes:

  • Tracking historical and real-time data of activity on the network
  • Thorough detection of protocol-related and other vulnerabilities
  • Diagnosing and repairing sluggish networks
  • Enhancing network visibility internally and removing defects

After this process, your risk level will have reduced significantly.

4. Threat Isolation

This is a protection method for endpoints and users from malware that mainly has to do with the browser and email isolation. This may involve barring users from interacting with websites, links, or content that is suspicious. This can help avoid attacks that have already been targeted toward you from penetrating your system.

5. Setting Traps

You can also place decoys all around your system to entrap potential intruders. When an attacker targets your servers, they will likely hit these deliberately placed decoys and, in the process, set off alarms notifying your IT teams—complete with reports on how the attacker is conducting their attack. This report will inform the team on what sort of predictive measures to take.


Incidents of cyber attacks are growing in number, and there has never been a more appropriate time for your organization to tighten its cybersecurity. Assessing your system regularly and enforcing a comprehensive TDR action plan is key in protecting your small business.

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