Whenever a business faces a security failure, they turn to their logs, security information and event management (SIEM) software, and security software to tell them what went wrong and when. In most cases, the wealth of data that’s available to security teams can pinpoint exactly where the security protocols broke down — and how to fix it.
The problem is, it’s often too little too late. What many security teams fail to realize is that while security analytics are useful after the fact, most businesses also have a wealth of data that they can draw upon to predict an attack before it takes place.
Business Intelligence: Defining Normal
Many businesses turn to analytics software like SAS, Python, and R to gain actionable insights into their current state of operations and better align their activities with their strategic priorities. From gaining better insights into customers and sales channel partners to empowering employees to make better, data-driven decisions that improve the overall bottom, the value of business analytical tools cannot be overstated.
However, there is one area in which BI software is woefully underused, and that’s security. Some experts compare the current state of security in many businesses to that of a governmental strategy room: Security teams are so focused on learning about their enemies, watching their moves, and trying to predict what comes next that they lose perspective on what’s happening within their own borders. Instead of focusing on shoring up their defenses from within by identifying something that’s out of the ordinary, they are busy trying to stay one step ahead of the outside attackers.
This is often because security teams don’t always have a complete grasp of what constitutes “normal” in the business sense. Because most of the data being analyzed by security teams is, understandably, security focused, it’s only looking at a small subset of the entire picture. They might be able to recognize an attack by a known attacker or the hallmarks of a particular piece of malware, but when events that don’t fit pre-existing definitions of “risk” take place, they are caught unaware.
By looking at a wider data set, though, including web traffic, email traffic, customer buying patterns, and other factors, it’s possible to establish a baseline of what constitutes normal operations and identify anomalies before they take hold. Normal operations create a unique fingerprint for the business, in a sense — and when that fingerprint changes, investigation is warranted.
Connecting Security and Business Analytics
One reason that business intelligence analytics and security analytics, and indeed security as a whole, have remained separate entities is that the processes and tools tend to be separate, with neither group having a full understanding of the other.
Bringing together the disparate functions tends to be a major obstacle in many organizations. However, if the security team can reach out to the business intelligence team, not only does that create an organizational bridge that can send positive ripples throughout the organization, but the BI team can provide data analytics insights that might be foreign to the security team.
For the same reason, the team that is trained in cyber security can provide insights and guidance that may not be apparent to the rest of the organization. By showing the BI team how to interpret data from a security standpoint, the security analysts can help business analysts better secure data, and identify the changes to the fingerprint that warrant further investigation.
Combining BI and security analytics doesn’t require the deployment of more tools. Both functions most likely already have a wide range of tools at their disposal, from firewalls and threat protection systems to data collection and analysis programs. Bringing these functions together is making better use of those tools, and leveraging their power in order to both make better business decisions and to protect the data that’s collected and vital business functions.
While some are concerned that developing the ability to predict attacks before they happen and stop them before the damage is done will have the effect of making security analysts obsolete, experts note that companies will still need knowledgeable individuals to develop and deploy solutions when necessary.
The bottom line, then, is that business intelligence should become a larger piece of the puzzle. It’s not the only solution to cyber crime, of course, but by more effectively analyzing the data that’s already being collected; the puzzle becomes a little less complex.
By now, you must have got an overview of the amazing amalgamation of BI and security analytics. This combination further strengthens the security aspects in an organization thereby ensuring an efficient flow of work and developments.