What is threat management?

Threat management is a process used by cybersecurity professionals to prevent cyber attacks, detect cyber threats and respond to security incidents.

cyber security people working on threat management

Why is threat management important?

Most security teams face information fragmentation, which can lead to blind spots in security operations. And wherever they exist, blind spots compromise a team’s ability to identify, protect against and respond to security threats promptly. 

Today's dangers now include mutating malware, advanced persistent threats (APT), insider threats, and vulnerabilities around cloud-based computing services, more than antivirus software can handle. With the ever-disappearing perimeter of a protected IT infrastructure and remote workforce, enterprises face complex risks and security threats they've never experienced before. Against the backdrop of this evolving threat landscape and shift to cloud, security professionals have adopted a new mindset—to assume that breaches have occurred and will occur.

Enhanced with automation and informed by AI, a cyber threat management system can help counter today’s advanced attacks by cybercriminals. It gives security teams the visibility they need to succeed. By unifying security data, security teams can navigate with confidence, identifying data at risk and vulnerabilities across networks on thousands of endpoints and between clouds.

How threat management works

Many modern threat management systems use the cybersecurity framework established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST provides comprehensive guidance to improve information security and cybersecurity risk management for private sector organizations. One of their guides, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CF), consists of standards and best practices. Five primary functions make up its core structure. They are to identify, protect, detect, respond and recover.


Cybersecurity teams need a thorough understanding of the organization's most important assets and resources. The identify function includes categories, such as asset management, business environment, governance, risk assessment, risk management strategy and supply chain risk management.


The protect function covers much of the technical and physical security controls for developing and implementing appropriate safeguards and protecting critical infrastructure. These categories are identity management and access control, awareness and training, data security, information protection processes and procedures, maintenance and protective technology.


The detect function implements measures that alert an organization to cyberattacks. Detect categories include anomalies and events, continuous security monitoring and early detection processes.


The respond function ensures an appropriate response to cyberattacks and other cybersecurity events. Categories include response planning, communications, analysis, mitigation and improvements.


Recovery activities implement plans for cyber resilience and ensure business continuity in the event of a cyberattack, security breach or another cybersecurity event. The recovery functions are recovery planning improvements and communications.

Threat management technology

Today's enterprise organizations install security operation centers (SOC) equipped with modern technology, like AI, to efficiently detect, manage, and respond to threats. By implementing AI-powered technology and an open, modular range of threat management solutions and services, organizations can spend less time and resources integrating and operating fragmented tools and data sources. The technology can establish efficient, interconnected data exchange, analytics and response processes that transform and enhance security operations capabilities. Vendors can deliver threat management solutions like software, software as a service (SaaS)or as managed services based on client requirements. Solution providers can also custom design, build, manage or provide the tools to deliver all aspects of the threat management lifecycle. They support SOC teams with the same AI-powered threat detection and investigation tools and threat management solutions and services to get the most value out of existing resources and investments.

IBM Solutions

Security information and event management (SIEM)

Breaches happen, but how do you respond? With IBM Security QRadar®, you can gain comprehensive insights to detect, investigate and respond to potential threats quickly.

Threat management services

A new way to fight cybercrime with an integrated approach and expertise powered by AI and orchestration. With this IBM threat management services platform, you can identify, prioritize and act on advanced threats most relevant to you.

Connected security for a hybrid, multicloud world

IBM Cloud Pak® for Security is an open security platform that connects to your existing data sources. It generates deeper insights and enables you to act faster with automation. Whether your data resides on IBM or third-party tools, on-premises or multiple cloud environments, the platform helps you to find and respond to threats and risks, all while leaving your data where it is.

Security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR)

Threat detection is only half of the security equation. You also need a smart incident response to the growing volume of alerts, multiple tools and staff shortages. Accelerate your incident response with automation, process standardization and existing security tools integration with IBM.

Threat intelligence services

Poor intelligence quality, lack of trust and minimal integration with other data sources and organizations create challenges in the ability to glean actionable insight to thwart cyberattacks. IBM threat intelligence services can simplify your intelligence management with experts who can design, build, deliver and operate an automated cyberthreat platform.

Prevent insider threats

Insider threats account for 60 percent of cyberattacks, and they are difficult to detect. Most cases go unnoticed for months or years. Gain visibility into behavioral anomalies that may signal an active insider threat. Gain visibility into behavioral anomalies that may signal an active insider threat. Discover and control all types of privileged accounts across your enterprise.