The Journey to Modern Security Operations

Posted by Andrew Maloney on Sep 23, 2021 1:48:09 PM

Security operations is not a new concept. In fact, it’s earned quite a few gray hairs in its roughly three-decade history, which got its start around the mid-1990’s with Log and Search. Each maturation of security operations has become more complex than the last, over time incorporating compliance, detection and response, intelligence, real-time threat hunting, and leaning towards fusion centers, as well as a whole host of other continuously developing capabilities.

The progression had been ongoing, but somewhat measured and predictable. Its evolution had been closely aligned with new technology innovations and new methods of adopting those innovations to deliver business outcomes.

Then COVID-19 suddenly hit, and we saw a mass acceleration of what many called the “digital transformation.” Memes by the dozens found their way into our social feeds, talking about how it wasn’t the CEO, the CIO, or even business strategy and foresight that led this transformation. It was COVID.

Businesses went into pandemonium and the adversaries took advantage, using the chaos to advance their nefarious agendas. In the shifting of the workforce from offices to remote, literally overnight, attack surfaces were not just increased, but expanded to a point they were hard to discern, and with the expanded attack surface we saw a corresponding increase in business risk.

For several reasons, all predominantly related to the power of human resilience in some way, shape, or form, we adapted to the new normal. Companies sped up their plans to move to the cloud. They started exploring the concepts of a perimeter-free world and zero trust models and making years’ worth of digital transformation progress in a matter of months. In fact, according to the CyberRes 2021 State of Security Operations report, 85% of organizations increased their adoption of cloud-based security solutions in the past year, with at least 99% or organizations now having at least some part of their security operations solutions now deployed in the cloud.

Yet somehow, in all this modernization and embracing of new technologies and capabilities, the methods upon which the foundation of security operations are built have been completely overlooked, and the status quo has prevailed.

It is time for companies to rethink how they bring efficient security operations into the post- pandemic world. Most security operations centers are still living in metaphorical houses built on traditional on-premises foundations. From SOC floor layouts, to governing processes, to daily standups and basic communication flows, organizations are spending too much time trying to figure out how to extend legacy methodologies into the cloud, resulting in a Frankenstein approach with neck bolts and stitches largely based on the concept of universal data centralization. Perhaps, organizations should be thinking about new ways to realize the potential of their full cybersecurity ecosystems, embracing the data silos that extend across multiple environments.

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Topics: cybersecurity, Security Operations, Digital Transformation

Same Cybersecurity Obstacles, Different Day

Posted by Andrew Maloney on Sep 2, 2021 10:10:29 AM

Dark Reading published an interesting story earlier this week entitled Ten Obstacles that Prevent Security Pros from Doing their Jobs. None of the obstacles is particularly surprising – mostly the same ones we’ve been dealing with for years, such as lack of budget, etc. What is striking about the list is that six of the 10 obstacles are directly related to security investigations. And, even for “lack of budget,” threat hunting is cited as a prime area where investment is lacking. 

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Topics: cybersecurity, Security Investigations, Cybersecurity Obstacles, Visibility, CISO

Cybersecurity Investigations and M&A: How to Accelerate Integration

Posted by Andrew Maloney on Aug 24, 2021 9:29:07 AM

In a recent conversation, a friend was pondering if she’d been impacted by the recent T-Mobile breach. “I know my personally identifiable information has been included in several big breaches in the past, and I’m sure it’s been sold a million times over. I’ve never been a T-Mobile customer, yet T-Mobile acquired Sprint, and I was a Sprint customer for years. Do you think my data has been compromised as a result?”

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Topics: cybersecurity, Mergers and Acquisitions, M&A

A New Paradigm to Meet the Executive Order Incident Response Mandate

Posted by Query.AI on Jul 18, 2021 11:25:04 PM

The Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity (Executive Order) sets out an ambitious plan for enhancing federal agency and supply chain security. Covering everything from cloud-first initiatives to zero trust architecture, the Executive Order covers many topics. It will likely have a wider reach than just Federal Civilian Executive Branch (FCEB) agencies. For security operations center (SOC) teams, Section 6, “Standardizing the Federal Government’s Playbook for Responding to Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities and Incidents,” has the most significant impact on their day-to-day activities. 

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Topics: cybersecurity, SOC, NIST, data, National Institute of Standards and Technologies

Attempting to Understand how Colonial Pipeline Attack was perpetrated

Posted by Sourav Ravish on Jun 7, 2021 12:06:23 PM

We, cybersecurity professionals, need to understand what happened in the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack. Though internal details are not public, based upon what little we know from the media, let’s try to put ourselves in the shoes of the cybersecurity professionals who had to respond to this attack.

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Topics: Cyber Security, cybersecurity, Cyber attack

What is threat hunting?

Posted by Craig Jorgensen on May 7, 2021 12:01:41 AM

The term threat hunting spawns different ideas and has different meanings for seemingly everyone you talk to. Understanding what threat hunting is will help you better equip your security teams to respond to alerts and mitigate risk. But is it basic triage of known indicators of compromise (IOC) in a proactive manner or some magical Jedi skill that only masters can summon and execute?

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Topics: Cyber Security, cybersecurity, threat hunting, threat hunter

Top Challenges with Data Centralizing for Threat Investigations

Posted by Andrew Maloney on Apr 22, 2021 11:35:21 PM

Threat investigations are one of the most important tasks security analysts face today. To quantify the importance and complexity here are a couple of statistics from a recent IBM “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020.”  According to the report, the average time to detect and contain a data breach caused by a malicious actor was 315 days. That's a long time. Additionally, we’ve all heard the saying that “time is money” well how about this? “Organizations that are able to contain a data breach in less than 200 days saved an average of $1.12 million compared to organizations that took more than 200 days to contain a breach,” that is pretty compelling.  

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Topics: cybersecurity, incident response, Data Centralization, Centralizing Data

What is incident response?

Posted by Eric Parker on Apr 15, 2021 5:30:00 AM


Creating an incident response program and team is the core of any strong cybersecurity program. According to one 2020 report, 7 million data records are compromised every day. With a better understanding of incident response, you can mature your security posture to reduce data breach risks.

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Topics: cybersecurity, incident response

Understanding Solarwinds, Microsoft Windows, VMware Attack of 2020

Posted by Craig Jorgensen on Mar 31, 2021 9:18:02 AM

An introduction of the supply chain attack caused in the Orion update protocol of the Solarwinds network management software suite of 2020.

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Topics: Malware, cybersecurity, solarwinds

How to Monitor Endpoints Live with Osquery

Posted by Dhiraj Sharan on Nov 4, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Picture this - you are coming from a database background and getting into the world of IT monitoring or administration. While you are newly warming up to the Linux command line, you have to deal with Windows and Mac machines in your network. Add to that a bunch of Linux servers in your company’s data center.

As a systems administrator, how can you monitor each system’s health, disk space, and metrics? Unfortunately, learning the tools for each OS can be a drag. Many cloud companies offer their dashboard, and those can be helpful, but what about the physical machines in your network? How do you monitor them?

You will need some kind of instrumentation to monitor and take action based on the situation. With big data and high-speed networks and plenty of video-rich accesses, even the terabyte disks can fill up quickly, and you need to take stock of disk overruns, memory, CPU, and network usage. Or in the cybersecurity world, you need to monitor any suspicious activity on your company’s systems.

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Topics: cybersecurity, Linux, OSQuery, SQL