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Combating Savvy Cyber Attacks with a Data-Driven Response

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Businesses need a data-driven approach that derives real-time threat insights from streaming data to fight modern cyber attacks.

Cyber attackers have taken the playbook from enterprise software developers. They’ve adopted modern development techniques like as-a-service offerings and composable elements to speed delivery of new attacks and frequently push out “updates” to counter traditional defenses. Protecting against these faster, more agile threats requires a data-driven response based on real-time insights and continuous intelligence.

Why? Malicious actors, like their corporate developer counterparts, leverage modern development methods to become more efficient. And unfortunately, more effective and more dangerous. The increase in the volume and scale of attacks can easily overwhelm standard security operations.

These new capabilities give attackers incredibly flexibility, just as it does corporate developers. In the corporate world, if users find a flaw or want a new feature in an application or service, a new version or update is quickly created and deployed. Similarly, if one attack vector is detected or stopped, malicious actors change the code.

Malicious actors also are more collaborative. They use the same methods as any software community. They jointly discuss new tactics, share information, and collaboratively develop new attacks. Many use distributed application development techniques, stringing components developed by different players into new aggregate applications. 

See also: How CI Tightens Enterprise Data Security

Impact on SecOps and the need for data-driven solutions

The pace at which new attacks are being generated and old attacks are being revised puts added pressure on security operations (SecOps). The numerous point detection solutions typically generate so many alarms and alerts that SecOps teams have difficulty keeping up. They normally cannot sort through the flood of alerts to find the most important ones to address. Nor can they see the big picture that would get to the root cause of a problem.

What’s needed is a data-driven response that takes the streams of data from the various sensors and security point solutions and performs real-time analysis on that aggregate set of data to generate actionable insights.

The work done by human operators can be augmented using such a continuous intelligence solution. It can help with the day-to-day decisions, such as which alerts to pay attention to and which to dismiss. Making use of such insights can also improve the quality of the work done by the SecOps team.

Ideally, a company should look for a solution that can make sense of hidden interdependencies to help spot the root cause of security problems. Such inferencing requires artificial intelligence and machine learning, which are essential elements of most continuous intelligence security solutions.

Salvatore Salamone

About Salvatore Salamone

Salvatore Salamone is a physicist by training who has been writing about science and information technology for more than 30 years. During that time, he has been a senior or executive editor at many industry-leading publications including High Technology, Network World, Byte Magazine, Data Communications, LAN Times, InternetWeek, Bio-IT World, and Lightwave, The Journal of Fiber Optics. He also is the author of three business technology books.

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