Why continuous intelligence is essential for modern security operations

Tasks previously performed by security personnel, such as vulnerability scanning, log analysis, and ticket verification, can now be performed automatically by a CI-based platform.

The rate at which new cyberattacks are generated and old attacks are revised is increasing pressure on already overstretched and overstretched security operations (SecOps) teams. The many point detection solutions used to monitor attacks typically generate so many alarms and alerts that SecOps teams struggle to keep up.

A Sumo Logic survey conducted by Dimension Research of 427 IT security professionals found that 83% of security operations teams say their security personnel suffer from “alert fatigue.” They can’t sort through the flood of alerts and prioritize issues based on severity. They also cannot see the big picture that would identify the root cause of a developing problem.

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What is needed is a data-driven approach to security for modern times. Such an approach must take the data streams from the various sensors and security point solutions and perform real-time analysis on this aggregated set of data to generate actionable insights. Just as businesses receive continuous streams of operational data, they also need continuous intelligence to provide security around these activities.

Security complexity is increasing due to multiple contributing factors

Modern business operations are becoming increasingly complex and difficult to secure. Enterprises typically support a combination of on-premises solutions, multiple cloud services, cloud-native apps, and third-party apps and data.

Additionally, the way custom applications and systems are developed and deployed opens the door to potential security oversights. For example, many companies have shifted development to cloud-native, API, and microservices approaches. This helps speed up the development and updating of custom applications and services compared to traditional, enterprise, and monolithic applications. In many cases, these approaches are supported by DevOps practices that deliver high-speed innovation cycles. These cycles can also be complemented by no-code/low-code development techniques that reuse components.

The cumulative result of these changes is that they can create many potential entry points for harmful cyberattacks. This problem is compounded by the struggle to have accurate awareness of these environments at all times due to their abstract, ephemeral and dynamic nature, which makes visibility difficult. A vulnerability in any small code patch or element can be the entry point for an attack.

For example, the recent discovery of the vulnerability in Apache’s Log4j software library has put this lack of transparency into perspective. According to the Computer & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), “Log4j is widely used in a variety of consumer and enterprise services, websites and applications, as well as operational technology products, to log information on safety and performance. An unauthenticated remote actor could exploit this vulnerability to take control of an affected system.

Many organizations had to scramble to see if any of their underlying applications and components were using Log4j. But to make matters worse, many continued to use it despite the warning.

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Specifically, the discovery and its potentially serious consequences were widely publicized in December. Virtually every mainstream news agency, show, publication, and website had spots or articles saying it was the “most serious vulnerability” seen in decades, if ever. Even with this warning, by the second week of January there had been millions of downloads of outdated and vulnerable versions of Log4j despite notification of its serious security flaw in December.

SOARing to new heights of security automation

As enterprises migrate to the cloud and cloud-native development, new security threats have emerged and complexity often increases. There are many interdependencies between the connected elements that make up an application, service, or business process.

At the same time, enterprise protection officers must sort out the complexities to ensure secure operations. But it turns out to be a daunting task. SecOps teams are bombarded with events and data streams from a plethora of sensors, point solutions, and other tools, drowning them in a sea of ​​instant alerts. Traditional approaches to security fail.

Security teams need more than a plethora of alerts: they need actionable, automated, real-time information about the impending threats that matter. Increasingly, the way to achieve this is through tools such as a SiEM (Security Information and Event Management) solution or a SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response) solution.

A cloud SIEM helps organizations reduce the volume of alerts they receive about relevant threats that require action by accelerating detection and investigation workflows. A cloud SOAR automates incident response by automating the incident response lifecycle, helping security analysts be more efficient with their time. These capabilities are increasingly important because there are so few security analysts available today. Continuous intelligence comes into play when these activities can take place from a single platform.

Automation frees up staff

By automating processes, CI solutions free up analysts’ time with the business logic of SiEM and SOAR solutions. This time can then be used for more strategic initiatives rather than spending it on repetitive and menial tasks. Specifically, tasks previously performed by security personnel, such as vulnerability scanning, log analysis, and ticket verification, can now be performed automatically by a CI-based platform.

Additionally, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can be applied to gain insights. To this end, CI-based security solutions are often used to elevate threats if human intervention is needed, make recommendations for action, and automate responses. And they use continuous intelligence to gain real-time information on which a business can base its response to a threat.

An added benefit of applying CI-based automation to security is that it can help negate the negative effect of skills gaps, avoid burnout, and address understaffing when shifts are not filled.

A platform that brings it all together

Sumo Logic offers a solution designed for modern security needs. The Sumo Logic Continuous Intelligence Platform helps businesses of all sizes get real-time insights and insights from a single cloud-native platform. It can be used to automatically discover early-stage threat indicators resulting from large attack surfaces and generates actionable insights that security analysts can quickly investigate. The solution helps in several ways.

It helps consolidate tools with a single cloud-native platform that analyzes and correlates threats across various sources while monitoring and troubleshooting logs, metrics, and traces.

It enables security teams to modernize their security operations with holistic visibility into an organization’s security posture, automatically delivering the insights analysts need, matching the changing attack surface and, when When combined with Sumo Logic’s Cloud SIEM functionality, brings a comprehensive approach to analyzing an organization’s security and SecOps needs. With a holistic approach to data monitoring and analysis, security teams gain actionable security awareness for cloud operations and on-premises environments. Additionally, SecOps teams gain better visibility across the enterprise to fully understand the impact and context of an attack. Streamlined workflows automatically triage alerts to optimize security analyst efficiency and focus.

To learn more about Sumo Logic’s Continuous Intelligence Platform, visit SumoLogic.com.


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Steven L. Nielsen