Just as humans use their senses in order to spot danger, cybersecurity relies on the ability to recognize signals within the computer environment which could indicate danger. It is more difficult to spot important signs of danger if one’s senses are more coordinated, varied, and tuned than the others.
This, however, can be a double-edged sword. Too many signals with too little advanced signal processing just leads to a lot of noise. Survival is possible when there are a variety of signals and advanced signal processing. It therefore makes sense that broad threat visibility across the IT environment is fundamental for detecting cyberattacks. Cybersecurity company Cynet puts this in perspective in a new eBook, The Guide for Threat Visibility for Lean IT Security Teams – link to this.
The Ongoing Problem of Limited Threat Visibility
The complexity of today’s IT environments has made it exceedingly difficult to protect. With an expanding remote workforce and greater third-party access, the defensive perimeter has grown. Monitoring the IT environment, which is complex and constantly changing, is nearly impossible because it is so large and complicated.
This complexity is not lost on cybercriminals that are drooling over the expanding set of profitable opportunities to exploit, increasing the creation of new and unanticipated attack vectors. Because most security technologies excel at stopping known threats, the escalating number of new threats means more attacks are undetected.
The patchwork of security technologies strewn across the IT environment allow security practitioners to see some part of the attack surface, but certainly not all. Moreover, disconnected defenses cannot provide a complete and accurate assessment of the threat landscape. Rather than better focus, the hodgepodge of security technologies increases noise.
The bottom line: poor visibility can lead to ineffective defenses, overworked security personnel and higher costs. Improving threat visibility is the first step to improving all aspects of cybersecurity.
The Three Keys for Threat Visibility
If attaining full threat visibility were easy, we wouldn’t be discussing it. Comprehensive visibility used to be very difficult, expensive and required a large, highly-skilled security team. If you use the correct approach, even the smallest IT security team can achieve full visibility of all threats. See the Cynet eBook https://thehackernews.com/2022/01/cyber-threat-protection-it-all-starts.html for a more detailed explanation.
Key Technologies for Threat Visibility
While more technologies may seem better, the key is choosing the right set of technologies that cover the most important parts of the IT environment. These include:
- NGAV – Fundamental endpoint protection based on known bad signatures and behaviors.
- EDR – To detect and prevent more complex endpoint threats that bypass NGAV solutions.
- NDR – To detect threats that have made their way into the network and so-called lateral movement.
- UBA: To identify unusual activity which could indicate stolen credentials, a bot or rogue insider is required.
- Deception – To uncover intrusions that have bypassed other detection technologies
- SIEM: To extract the vast log data produced by IT systems.
- SOAR – To automate and speed up threat mitigation efforts.
Integrate Everything for a 360 Degree View
Multiple detection and prevention tools, as listed above, are required to begin to see across the entire IT environment. However, even if implemented as standalone components, there will be huge visibility gaps. This can also lead to alert overload, where each technology streams an independent stream of alerts. Security teams are often overwhelmed by the constant flow.
Newer XDR solutions are built to integrate real-time signals from multiple points of telemetry on a single platform. The ability to combine NGAV and EDR with UBA, NDR, and UBA increases threat visibility and resolves it. XDR exposes attacks in all directions, regardless of what evasive steps they may take.
Automate Response Actions to Improve Reflexes
Seeing a threat is one thing. Quickly and appropriately reacting to it is another. With improved threat visibility and accuracy, IT security teams – and especially lean teams – will need to react quickly to thwart identified threats.
Automation improves both speed and scale more than an army of security pros could-so long as it is integrated within the XDR. All the data and signals from the XDR are fed into the automation engine, enhancing its understanding. This allows the automation engine to quickly investigate and determine the root cause of the attack. Then, based on what’s known about the attack, automation can orchestrate a playbook recommended for that attack, taking specific steps to neutralize the threat and mitigate the damage.
Security stack need not continue to expand. The threat visibility is enhanced by integrating key tools and emerging XDR technology. XDR allows any security team, even the leanest and greenest, to slash the false alarms, see the stealthiest attacks earlier and then automatically and instantly do something about it.