5 Key Security Analytics Capabilities for Security Operations Centers

 

5 Key Security Analytics Capabilities for Security Operations Centers

What are the key security analytics capabilities for security operations centers? How can they supplement your security team’s threat hunting? Why do they matter to modern enterprise cybersecurity

Enterprises of all sizes should consider forming a security operations center (SOC). First, they can conduct regular threat hunting and cybersecurity maintenance for your IT infrastructure. Second, they can utilize threat intelligence and help you form use-case specific best practices. Third, your SOC can take the lead on incident response in case your enterprise does suffer a cyber attack. 

However, your SOC can’t just rely on human intelligence. They need the right tools to supplement their skills and experience; without them, they will struggle to provide your team with the most informative cybersecurity insights. But which tools do they need? 

In a recent Forbes article, Stephen Moore of Exabeam cited security analytics as one of the most important technological developments of 2019. Indeed security analytics capabilities for security operations centers can radically improve their monitoring and detection powers. 

Here are five key security analytics capabilities for security operations centers. 

Five Security Analytics Capabilities for Security Operations Centers

1. False Positive Reduction Through Contextualization

Security Analytics, as the name implies, applies analytics to substantial amounts of data in your network. This proves significant in defending your enterprise against hackers; plenty of threats could dwell in blind spots or remain unnoticed due to the flood of information. 

Unfortunately, legacy cybersecurity solutions often lack the capabilities to effectively track or monitor all parts of a potential security event. As a result, these solutions often send your team an alert for every potential security event. Of course, this adds up quickly. Every false positive means more time wasted on fruitless investigations, longer dwell times, and higher burnout rates. 

Next-generation security analytics capabilities for security operations centers help reduce false positives. They do this by efficiently monitoring and analyzing all aspects of security events; then they present a security alert only if programmed criteria warrant an alert. Moreover, the alerts provide context for the alert, including users involved, databases accessed, time of requests, and more. 

This contextualization helps your IT security team speed up their investigation process; they can much more easily determine if an alert indicates a potential threat or simply unusual activity as per business processes. Therefore, your security can focus on the alerts that matter and other tasks to keep your enterprise safe

2. User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)

Of course, for contextualization to work, you need to understand what behaviors constitute potential threats. What does a user do in their normal day-to-day workflows? What databases do they access? How do they input their credentials? 

These aren’t idle questions; deviations from normal baseline behaviors could indicate a hacker compromised account or an insider threat. Thankfully, security analytics capabilities for security operations centers include UEBA. These use machine learning to establish behavioral baselines for all users and entities (non-human identities) in your network. Then, if the behavior deviates, they can send a contextualized alert to your security team.  

One of the most potent and dangerous cyber attacks involves stolen and abused credentials. UEBA can limit the effectiveness of these attacks and deter hackers and other threat actors. 

3. Automated Investigations and Rote Tasks

An underreported problem facing IT security teams for enterprises? Rote tasks. A fair amount of IT professionals’ days are spent handling tedious but incredibly vital tasks to maintain your cybersecurity. These can include routine threat hunting, preliminary investigations on alerts, monitoring access requests, and the like. 

This isn’t a trivial challenge either; rote tasks steal valuable time from your IT security team to conduct more thorough investigations and perform more sophisticated improvements. Additionally, rote tasks can cause burnout just like any other rote task; stress and repetition do not make for productive and satisfied employees.     

Moreover, many enterprises exacerbate these issues by making these rote process manual. Imagine organizing users’ permissions into a spreadsheet, and constantly adjusting it throughout the week. It seems like a potentially dangerous proposition, and yet some enterprises persist in it. 

Next-generation security analytics capabilities for security operations centers include automation. These can conduct investigations for your IT security team, automate rote tasks, and alleviate the burden on your security team.  

4. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

Strangely enough, EDR belongs in a discussion of security analytics capabilities for security operations centers. EDR conducts itself similarly to SIEM; it monitors for anomalous behaviors and alerts your security team. However, it provides even greater insights into your endpoints. 

Remember, endpoints form the gateway into your network. Moreover, endpoints often end up lost as blind spots in scaling IT networks, allowing hackers to use them as ideal penetration points. Monitoring for anomalous activity on these endpoints must become a top priority for overall cybersecurity optimization. 

Also, remember that ransomware and other malware continue to plague enterprises of all sizes. Without preventing those, your enterprise might still be at risk!

5. Visualization

Sometimes, in order to properly address a threat, you need to see it directly. Of course, this can prove challenging when the threat is little more than a string of ones and zeroes. Fortunately, security analytics capabilities for security operations centers include visualization; this enables you to see how threats penetrate your network, how they move, and where they focus their attention. With this information, you can more effectively determine where you need more cybersecurity coverage and close potential vulnerabilities. 

Why Security Analytics Capabilities for Security Operations Centers? 

Remember signature-based detection? 

Nowadays, cybersecurity professionals only refer to signature-based detection as a tool fundamentally unequipped to protect enterprises. Most threats either do not possess signatures or evolve too fast for signature-based detection to catch. Moreover, signature-based detection focuses on known threats; so many threats attack enterprises in their very first appearance in the threat landscape that trying to defend against “known threats” is like preparing for the last war.  

Now is the time for detection and reaction—hence your security operations center. You can learn more in our 2019 SIEM Buyer’s Guide.

Ben Canner

Ben Canner is an enterprise technology writer and analyst covering Identity Management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection, and Cybersecurity writ large. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He previously worked as a corporate blogger and ghost writer. You can reach him via Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ben Canner