Executive Viewpoint 2017 Prediction: ProtectWise – Security’s Greatest Need in 2017: Advanced Visualization
In 2016’s fast-evolving threat climate, security operations teams struggled to keep their heads above water and often found themselves drowning under the tens of thousands of alerts that popped up each day.
A recent Ponemon Institute study found that 76 percent of cybersecurity professionals credit a lack of visibility as the biggest obstacle to remediating attacks. Traditional tools are becoming quite useless as teams try to address every incoming alert, toggling between browser tabs to reference point products.
Global cybersecurity spend is anticipated to exceed $1 trillion between 2017 and 2021. With this trajectory in mind, the industry will need to seriously revamp the fundamental design of security products to utilize more advanced visualization techniques. In the years ahead, radical new approaches will be needed to address the three overarching challenges that make up cybersecurity’s current condition: data overload, hackers’ elevated intelligence and the serious shortage of talent.
New avenues for attacks opened this year as data volumes increased exponentially. Traditional security tools were just not designed to handle this influx of data, and the problem will only exacerbate further as annual global IP traffic will reach 2.3 ZB per year by 2020.
With this much data, inefficiency is now the defining trait of most security teams’ daily activities. Looking at the typical Security Operations Center (SOC), it seems as if most enterprise security products still take their design inspiration from the 1980’s cult classic movie “War Games.” When your SOC’s cutting-edge solution is a missile map, and your analysts use simple charts and graphs to coordinate their efforts, hackers have the upper hand.
What is needed are advanced visualization capabilities that let teams connect the dots quicker and minimize dwell time, while allowing for deep-dive forensics around detecting and analyzing attacks. Visuals make data more digestible, leading to faster response times and, ultimately, increased efficiency.
Hacker’s Elevating Intelligence
Intrusions and attacks were alarmingly commonplace in 2016, and they brazenly grew in scope and severity throughout the year. This is largely because hackers saw everyone as an easy target, since they’re used to operating in an ecosystem in which attacks aren’t addressed in real time. It’s usually months before a threat is identified, and by that time it has proliferated in the network and the damage is done.
To combat hackers, security teams must know the exact moment when an attack strikes. They have to see threats as they arise, operating in real time using security analytics and advanced detection. Visual elements of security platforms will be a must-have if organizations want to increase their situational awareness. The technology that analysts use must let them take advantage of multiple sensory inputs to provide immediate and holistic view of the full network environment, as if they were standing in the same room as the attacker.
Crippling Shortage of Talent
A report from Cisco put the global total of cybersecurity job openings in 2016 at 1 million. Demand is expected to rise to 6 million globally infosec professionals by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million.
Hiring an experienced security operations professional is no easy task. If you’re lucky enough to find and hire the right person, your next battle will be retention – given their rarity, a strong performer can dictate their own terms and earn top dollar at any organization.
How can organizations win this battle? Like these professionals, highly visual platforms are still a rarity, and can provide the kind of a “cool” factor that attracts top talent. Security professionals want to work with the most cutting edge technology. In their day-to-day roles, they’ll want to use a dynamic, visual interface over line graphs and pie charts. What’s more, better tools make smaller teams more effective. Advanced visualization technologies that let SOCs operate in virtual realms will draw in talent and equip teams with tools that are both enjoyable and effective to use.
Immersion in Data
Akin to being drawn into the world of your favorite video game, advanced visualization makes security teams one with their network. With shades of the grid system from “Tron: Legacy,” the Metaverse in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and the Oasis in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, the future of security solutions must be designed so analysts can not only view data, but also interact and explore that data like never before.
By being immersed in the data, security teams can operate with unprecedented situational awareness, better able to consume security data in relation to the rest of their environment. This type of technology and clear visibility into the data enables the user to becoming more efficient and strategic when analyzing and responding to threats.
The Bottom Line
Security professionals’ jobs are growing increasingly complex as attacks become more sophisticated and the amount of data they are tasked with analyzing skyrockets. Organizations of all sizes and across all industries will continue to face these challenges in 2017, and there will be increasing pressure to solve them from the highest levels of their organization. To meet these challenges, advanced visualization tools must bring network data to life and empower security teams to effectivity mitigate threats and protect their network.