ATP: Never Go Ahead Without a Great Advanced Threat Protection

Cyberattacks are growing more common and sophisticated, as demonstrated by the recent surge in phishing and ransomware attacks. Advanced threat protection (ATP) solutions are designed to minimize the risks that these attacks pose to an organization’s endpoints by preventing attacks before they occur.

The cyber threat landscape has evolved rapidly in recent years. Organizations’ IT environments have been transformed by a move to the cloud and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, cyber threat actors have become more sophisticated and professional, leading to higher-impact, more costly attacks.

With remote work becoming commonplace, the endpoint has become the first line of defense for many organizations’ cybersecurity programs. This means that these endpoints are targeted by sophisticated attacks and require advanced endpoint security solutions to protect them.

ATP solutions are designed to provide this advanced protection. They use a variety of next-generation security solutions to identify cyberattacks early in their lifecycles, which enables them to break the attack chain and prevent the attack before it can cause significant damage to an endpoint.

How Does ATP Security Work?

Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) solutions are designed to protect an organization’s endpoints against advanced and sophisticated threats. They accomplish this using technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). By focusing on threat prevention rather than threat detection and response, ATP tools minimize the risk and potential impacts of advanced attacks on an organization’s endpoints.

To accomplish their objectives of threat prevention and risk reduction, ATP solutions require certain core capabilities, including:

  • Real-time Visibility: Preventing a threat in real-time rather than responding to it after the fact requires deep, real-time visibility into the events occurring on a protected endpoint. This visibility enables an ATP solution to quickly detect indications of a potential cyber attack and stop it before it can begin.
  • Contextual Awareness: Many security teams are overwhelmed by a barrage of security alerts created by an array of security solutions and ongoing attacks. Advanced threat protection requires context to ensure that security teams are informed of and are able to respond to true threats to the enterprise in a timely manner.
  • Data Understanding: ATP solutions are designed to manage the risk of advanced attacks targeting the data within an organization’s possession. Accomplishing this requires the ability to understand the sensitivity and value of data so that the tool can identify attacks targeting it and respond appropriately.

Cyberattacks have become more sophisticated and targeted, leveraging extensive reconnaissance and advanced techniques. ATP solutions need the same visibility and intelligence to prevent these attacks before they start.

Key Features of Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)

ATP solutions are intended to identify and protect against attacks by highly sophisticated threat actors that specialize in stealthy attacks using zero-day exploits and unique malware. To effectively identify and protect against these threats, an ATP solution needs to have certain functionality, including:

  • File Analytics: Malware poses a significant threat to all of an organization’s endpoints, especially as cybercriminals increasingly target mobile devices with their attacks. Strong endpoint security requires the ability to automatically analyze all files entering a device (regardless of origin and delivery mechanism) and determine if they contain malicious functionality before they are permitted to execute on the endpoint.
  • Attack Surface Management: The modern enterprise has a massive attack surface, providing an attacker with ample opportunities to exploit its endpoints. ATP solutions use a variety of approaches to manage an organization’s attack surfacing, including sandboxed file analysis and execution, application control, and more.
  • Combined Prevention and Detection: While the primary goal of ATP solutions is to prevent attacks before they occur, some attacks may slip past an organization’s defenses and achieve execution. To address these risks, ATP solutions back up their prevention capabilities with support for rapid threat detection and response.
  • Rich Threat Intelligence: Cyber threats are evolving rapidly, and having access to the right information can mean the difference between successfully preventing a new threat and having it slip through the cracks. ATP solutions should have access to robust cyber threat intelligence that provides them with up-to-date information on the latest cyberattack campaigns.