What is Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) and why does your company need it? 

ATP isn’t just another innocuous information technology industry acronym. Representing advanced threat protection, the phrase refers to new cyber defense technologies that more effectively assist organizations in battling advanced phishing, ransomware and social engineering attacks, among other threats, than previous forms of antimalware. Although malicious actors have refined and improved the methods they use to prepare and launch cyber attacks, including by incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies, the same strategy assists in combatting such efforts using newer ATP solutions. 

Whereas older antimalware platforms depended upon databases⏤an element requiring continual updates to remain current and relevant, a problem in and of itself⏤to provide signature matches needed to determine whether files or behaviors were a threat, advanced threat protections are much more cunning and capable. By adopting AI and ML technologies within endpoint protection software and even network defense services, cyber security providers’ advanced threat protection solutions continually collect information from multiple sources, better understand attack natures, anticipate new threat vectors, learn from previous examples and apply lessons learned from past experiences to better secure networks, thwart attacks and mitigate breaches. 

How does ATP work?

Advanced Threat Protection solutions work by detecting and preventing complex attacks, including zero-day threats that haven’t previously been identified, and by guarding against dangerous behaviors, suspicious actions and robotic-based attacks launched and remotely controlled by malicious software agents managed by criminal actors. ATP products and services also assist organizations by protecting against common impersonation attacks and business email compromise (BEC) efforts by watching for techniques often used to trick employees into trusting a malicious actor the user believes to be an actual trusted contact. 

How is ATP different from other solutions?

To prove effective, ATP solutions must also protect users and firms from advanced ransomware attacks that try to corrupt data using the same principles. ATP options are now available, too, that assist organizations in recovering ransomware-encrypted files automatically when infections do breach a firm’s defenses. Because such threats can enter an organization via web sites, email, applications and compromised hardware connected to the network, it’s particularly important advanced threat protection engines provide protection for all those sources. 

Another element differentiating ATP defenses from standard traditional antivirus is many advanced threat protection products’ ability to automatically clean infected files. Often referred to using the phrases Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR) or Threat Extraction, many ATP solutions can automatically clean infected files before the files are delivered to users, such as through email or cloud sharing services. 

Whether an organization manages its information technology operations in-house or outsources the responsibility to a managed services provider (MSP) or another partner, the technical team overseeing IT security needs for its cyber defense solutions to also provide comprehensive reporting, logging and alerting features, not to mention a centralized administration console from which to manage the solution, monitor status and respond to incidents. ATP solutions typically provide just such robust capabilities. 

How to use ATP

Actual ATP design and implementation can take multiple forms. Organizations can select advanced threat protection solutions that provide antivirus coverage for network devices (including desktops, laptops, smartphones, servers and similar equipment), email filtering, network and firewall services or all three. ATP solutions can be deployed using just software, via locally installed hardware appliances and even through cloud services. Or, organizations can deploy ATP protections using any combination of those approaches. 

Where to find an ATP solution

Regardless of the final strategy, ATP permits organizations to better detect, limit and prevent sophisticated cyber attacks at the same time such threats have never been greater. Numerous providers offer such solutions, including all the following: 

How to select the right ATP solution for your organization

When selecting an advanced threat protection solution, organizations should first list the features and capabilities they require. Several factors impact just what requirements appear on such lists, including the industry within which the company works, the manner in which applications are deployed and supported, the number of sites the organization operates, how quickly the organization might need to recover operations in the event of an incident, how the firm’s IT operations are staffed and structured and the corresponding budget. Once all requirements are identified, businesses can prioritize those elements and then research, review and select an ATP solution meeting those needs. 

Have questions regarding your office’s cyber security defenses or strategy? Need more information on an advanced threat protection solution for your firm? Call Louisville Geek at 502-897-7577 or book an appointment to speak to someone on our sales team.