Using Log Management as a Security Analytics Platform
With the rising tide of data breach awareness, your senior leadership is asking you to mitigate cybersecurity risk with security analytics. You’ve built up the use cases and started researching different platforms.
Then, you realized: you’re not sure you have the budget. The typical security analytics platforms come with upfront technology costs as well as the “hidden fees” associated with training your team members.
You know you need to use analytics to help mitigate risk. At the same time, you don’t have the time, budget, or team to deploy a traditional solution. The good news? If your log management solution can automate data collection, normalization, and analysis, you can use it as a security analytics platform.
How is big data used in security?
Big data in security analytics starts by collecting event logs from all users, devices, and cloud resources. Then, it applies data analytics for early detection of security issues.
Your data security program needs to protect sensitive information, but you find yourself facing several challenges:
- Rise in insider threats arising from a remote work models
- Complex cloud environments
- Inability to ingest the terabytes of event logs needed to mitigate data loss
- High volumes of false positives leading to alert fatigue
With data analytics, you can overcome many of these challenges.
What is a security analytics platform?
When most people hear the phrase “security analytics platform,” they might initially think of expensive technologies like Security Information and Event Management (SIEM). However, before you give your senior leadership a price tag panic attack, it’s important to think about what these tools actually do.
Typically, a SIEM:
- Collects data from sources across the organization’s environment
- Normalizes, aggregates, and correlates the data
- Analyzes the data to detect threats
- Sends notifications and alerts to the security analysts
- Enables security incident investigation
If you’re thinking to yourself, “this sounds a lot like something a centralized log management solution could also do,” you’d be correct. While a SIEM can be a powerful security tool, it ingests the same log data that your log management solution does.
How to use centralized log management as a security analytics platform
If you’re trying to optimize both your security and your budget, a centralized log management solution can give you the best of both worlds. You can use it for the traditional IT operations use cases. By using it as a security analytics tool, you enhance your return on investment.
Most IT and security teams find themselves overwhelmed by the number of alerts generated every day. When you use your centralized log management solution for security, you can correlate and analyze security like:
With more security data, you can create high fidelity alerts that reduce false positives to improve key security metrics like Mean Time to Detect (MTTD).
After detecting a security threat, you need to find the source - quickly. The faster you investigate an incident, the shorter malicious actors’ dwell time is, meaning the less time they have to steal sensitive information.
You can use your centralized log management to improve Mean Time to Investigate (MTTI). which also improves Mean Time to Contain (MTTC) by pinpointing the root cause of the incident faster.
Follow the Data
Since you can incorporate threat intelligence into your log management tool, you’re also able to engage in proactive threat hunting. Parameterized searches give you a way to go looking for advanced threat activity like:
- Abnormal user access to sensitive information
- Abnormal time of day and location of access
- High volumes of files accessed
- Higher than normal CPU, memory, or disk utilization
- Higher than normal network traffic
Malicious actors want to evade detection so even high fidelity alerts may not be adequate. If you’re using threat intelligence and actively searching for abnormal activity, you have a repeatable process allowing you to actively look for compromise.
Provide the Evidence
After you detect and investigate a security incident, you’ll need to answer a lot of questions. You’ll need to show whether data was exfiltrated (hopefully not!) and prove that you restored everything to its pre-incident state.
Your centralized log management solution can act as a security analytics platform in this use case as well. You use it to archive historical data, and that same information can help you answer questions about the incident.
Document for Compliance
Internal audits may not be everyone’s worst nightmare, but they’re certainly not anyone’s best dream. Nearly every compliance mandate requires you to document your continuous monitoring.
This documentation usually comes from your event logs, even if you’re using a SIEM. With a centralized log management solution that provides visualizations, you can keep all the documentation in a single location. Integrating with your ticketing system gives you the documentation to prove when you opened a case and how long it took to resolve the issue.
Your senior leadership needs to understand their cybersecurity risk, but they want visibility into trends. They don’t want (or need!) detailed information about IP addresses or network bytes.
Centralized log management gives you reporting capabilities that visualize these trends so that leadership can prove they reviewed and understand their cybersecurity risk. To provide timely reporting, you can automate the frequency of these reports. This allows you to share with everyone who needs visibility without adding to the time it takes you.
Graylog: Centralized Security Analytics
Graylog’s centralized log management solution acts as your extra set of hands, giving you a way to use your IT operations tool for security analytics. With our powerful correlation engine, you have the ability to monitor for security events like brute force attacks or creation of new users. At the same time, you’re still managing traditional operations issues like monitoring for a down service.
Our search parameters give you lightning-fast investigation capabilities. You can run scenarios with multiple choices for specific values, reducing dwell time and optimizing the search for real-time answers.
Using centralized log management as a security analytics platform gives you the security you need at a price point your organization can afford.