The 5 Top Best Practices for Open Source Cybersecurity

The 5 Top Best Practices for Open Source Cybersecurity

What is open source cybersecurity? How can your enterprise deploy it for maximum efficiency? What are the 5 top best practices for open source cybersecurity?   

Previously, Solutions Review offered our list of the top Open Source SIEM tools for enterprises. Open source tools open their cybersecurity designs for public modification and customization. Thus your enterprise IT security team can modify your particular selection to fit your infrastructure and needs.

Obviously, deploying an open source SIEM tool can significantly save your enterprise money—open source tools are usually free. While open source tools can’t offer the same functionality as a full-fledged solution, it can certainly get your enterprise started. 

However, open source tools extend far beyond traditional SIEM. They also include open source network security and open source intrusion detection. 

SIEM solution provider AT&T Cybersecurity offers two whitepapers on these important open source tools: “Open Source Network Security Tools for Beginners,” and “Beginner’s Guide to Open Source Intrusion Detection Tools.”

We read through these valuable resources and pulled lessons every enterprise should learn. Here are the 5 important best practices for open source cybersecurity!          

5 Top Best Practices for Open Source Cybersecurity

1. Ask Yourself “Do We Need Open Source Cybersecurity?”

After all, these kinds of reflections and considerations should form the foundation of all of your cybersecurity considerations. However, it applies especially to open source network security and intrusion detection; your enterprise might still need a true SIEM cybersecurity solution. 

In fact, AT&T Cybersecurity notes that relying on open source does require your IT team to handle its own support and integration. On the other hand, it does lend your enterprise complete control over your security architecture. 

Only you can answer the question of your own priorities. Answer honestly.

2. Start Small

This may seem like odd advice for something as important as cybersecurity. Yet open source network security and intrusion detection tools operate in much the same way as traditional SIEM solutions. 

For example, attempting to deploy your SIEM across your entire infrastructure only leads to issues down the line. You may face integration issues, an overwhelming amount of security data all at once, and difficulty in prioritizing key databases. 

The same issues apply to open source cybersecurity. Thus you need to start small. AT&T cybersecurity recommends starting with packet analysis for network security

Much like SIEM, you need to start small. Trying to take on too much at once can only result in digital heartbreak (and also overwhelmed security teams, inefficiencies, potential security gaps, etc. AT&T Cybersecurity recommends starting with packet analysis for network security 

3. Know Your Network

This is a good rule for cybersecurity and SIEM in general, not just for open source. As the old maxim goes, “you can’t protect what you can’t see.” 

Of course, good open source network security and open source intrusion detection can reveal connecting devices, operating systems, and listening ports. Yet if you wish to supplement your cybersecurity in general, you need to work on improving your visibility independently. 

4. Know How to Deal With False Positives 

With any analytic security—EDR, SIEM. UEBA, etc.—your enterprise faces at least some false positives. False positives find behaviors and activities which seem suspicious to a non-human observer and flag them. 

Obviously, false positives can overwhelm your IT security team, burning them out with demands and burying legitimate leads. Many SIEM solutions work to reduce their false positive rate.  

Yet AT&T Cybersecurity points out an important lesson: your enterprise could face worse than false positives. In fact, false negatives pose a far greater challenge to your enterprise and a more serious danger. If you use an open source network security or intrusion detection tool, you need to have strategies to deal with this problem. 

Additionally, your IT security team should never assume a false positive simply because it resembles a previous false positive. For intrusion detection, signature-based detection creates fewer false positives but rely on flagged signatures.

5. Keep Your Tools Up-To-Date

Before you even consider open source cybersecurity, your IT team needs a concrete plan to ensure you keep your solution up-to-date. Again, your IT team shall have responsibility for its optimal performance; it can’t rely on the regular updates from the provider. 

Cybersecurity relies on staying up-to-date, both in terms of technology and threat intelligence. Stagnation of any kind lays out the welcome mat for both hackers and insider threats. So don’t. 

Final Thoughts

A recurring theme in this article focuses on how open source network security and intrusion detection and solution-based cybersecurity resemble each other. This is not an accident. 

You do not forgo your normal responsibilities for cybersecurity by choosing open source. Instead, you must give your cybersecurity infrastructure the time, resources, and attention it deserves. 

You can read the  “Open Source Network Security Tools for Beginners” and “Beginner’s Guide to Open Source Intrusion Detection Tools” whitepapers by AT&T Cybersecurity here.

You should also check out our 2019 SIEM Buyer’s Guide for more information on the market space and key vendors

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