Updated June 2021

In our personal lives, many of us try to get the most out of a tank of gasoline – waiting until the red indicator shines bright and we finally have to stop at a gas station to fill our tank. This mindset extends to many aspects of our lives, both personally and professionally.  For many cybersecurity professionals, teams are spread thin responding to alerts and managing tools, so it’s become a necessity to look for ways to maximize efforts.  One way security teams can stretch their efforts farther is through optimizations to security monitoring. How are you ensuring that your organization is getting every last drop out of the security monitoring you have in place?

Cyber Kill Chain specified by Lockheed Martin

Cyber Kill Chain specified by Lockheed Martin

In one of our previous blogs, we detailed the top three reasons why you should alert based on the Cyber Kill Chain Model.  As a refresher, the term “kill chain” is related to an attack, and the Cyber kill Chain model was developed by Lockheed Martin and shows the chronological stages that a security incident progresses through. In this blog, we’ll dive into the three main steps that will enable your team to leverage the Cyber Kill Chain framework in order to get the most out of your security monitoring.


Before creating new detections, it’s important to understand the current state of your detection content. Document any “out-of-the-box” detection content from your SIEM and EDR solutions as well as any custom detections built internally or by a third-party provider. Try to map the current detection content to the Cyber Kill Chain in order to understand what stages of a cyber attack you have visibility into. Take note of the Kill Chain stages that have the fewest detections as this will be a factor in developing a content roadmap.

It’s also important to reflect on which risks take higher priority over others based on your organization and industry and where those risks are in the Kill Chain. For instance, organizations with global operations have a higher risk in the Command and Control stage since they cannot implement geo-location blocking as comprehensively as an organization restricted to few geolocations. Another aspect to consider is what log sources and technologies are integrated with your SIEM and which devices are covered by your EDR solutions. The goal of this step is to document the current state in order to build a roadmap that will improve your coverage.


Now that you know the current state, you can start planning to improve it. Focusing on the Kill Chain stages with the lowest coverage, as well as any new log sources or technologies, start documenting a list of possible detection content. In this roadmap, detail the purpose of each detection as well as the proposed logic and any requirements. As with any project, it’s important to set a target completion date and stick to it as much as possible. The goal of this step is to establish and prioritize new detection content that will have the biggest impact on your overall security monitoring. From here, the appropriate personnel can create the detection content within the SIEM or EDR.


Once you’ve implemented the first roadmap, the next step is recurring validation and creating further roadmaps. Validation includes reviewing the detection content manually, performing red-team and purple-team exercises, or running continuous attack simulations to ensure that the detection content will fire an alert as intended during a real incident. After completing the first roadmap and any validation , you should begin the process again to create a new roadmap. The goal is to constantly benchmark, improve, and validate the security monitoring in place in order to give you security confidence.


The ReliaQuest GreyMatter security operations platform provides a content library of over 600 technology agnostic alerts that are mapped to the Cyber Kill Chain. ReliaQuest customers have full access to our content library as well as continual road mapping validation and benchmarking of the deployed alerts. The included ongoing enablement and technical support of ReliaQuest GreyMatter provides you with roadmaps, content deployment, and validation. Additionally, GreyMatter’s integrated attack simulation capabilities enable customers to run simulated attacks within their environment with the click of a button, allowing for the validation of detection content and ultimately providing the utmost security confidence you need.