|By Adam Vincent||
|April 7, 2014 01:04 PM EDT||
Last week, Anton Chuvakin from Gartner wrote a blog about what he is calling an Intelligence Management Platform. He includes some thoughts by Facebook on how they are building their own platform. He alludes to non-public sources and I’m sure ThreatConnect™ is one, so rather than keep you all in suspense, I thought this would be an opportune time for ThreatConnect to say what we think a Threat Intelligence Platform is.
Rick Holland from Forrester said recently at a SANS conference that the threat intelligence platform is like the quarterback of your operations. The threat intelligence platform should be calling the shots and running the show.
There is also talk of how Threat Intelligence Platforms and Incident Response platforms are emerging into two distinct products. I do not think that they should be, rather I believe that the pursuit of truly understanding security of the business will result in a single converged product category. You can’t have a football team with two quarterbacks on the field, and you can’t have two different platforms responsible for managing your threat intelligence and response activities.
I’m not sure what the industry will settle on as far as a name given the now extended scope of requirements, but whatever the name becomes, I believe the requirements are now well understood.
What is the Problem and Why Now?
Throughout the enterprise there are security personnel using a variety of processes and tools to conduct their incident response, network defense, and threat analysis. Integration between teams supporting these functions and management have to this point been mostly manual efforts.
Unless they had vast resources to build a proper platform, security team efforts haven’t been integrated, or are integrated but through rudimentary technologies like email, spreadsheets, or maybe a SharePoint portal or a ticketing system. These techniques, although better than nothing, do not scale as the team grows and the number of malicious events and security processes increases. We saw this same problem with other parts of the business, and platforms were created to support them in their quest for automation and better management processes. For example, PeopleSoft for human resources, Salesforce for sales, Intuit for finance, SAP for manufacturing, and Eloqua for marketing.
Due to the ever-increasing threat of cyber attack and regulatory pressures there is a need for a new type of enterprise platform that can support the entire security team from the CIO to the personnel spanning processes for incident response, network defense, and threat analysis. The platform must be used for tactical day-to-day blocking and tackling as well as strategic decision-making and process improvement.
What is a Threat Intelligence Platform?
A Threat Intelligence Platform permits personnel throughout the enterprise to manage processes on the security relevant data that they care about. Other personnel processes can be integrated on top of that same data simultaneously as part of the same or a different process. Processes might include triaging events in the SOC, conducting incident response, or the threat team’s processes for integrating external feeds or intelligence. From the management perspective, the platform must present trends, supply real-time updates, as well as support threat-driven long-term prioritization across the business. The platform must support the integration of all the stakeholders and data that is relevant to each in a way where they can work together as a team. Customization of the platform is key, as each organization will have different processes, and data customizations needs across processes for aggregation, analysis, and action.
Aggregation – From Feeds to Intelligence
The culmination of one or more feeds is not sufficient on its own; instead you need to focus on processing your own data then overlay what everyone else knows on top of that. Without this type of understanding you never know what is truly relevant to your organization.
There is a lot of emphasis on feeds in the marketplace right now. How many feeds do you support and which ones? Can you support structured and unstructured data input? Do you support STIX? What is the process (manual, automated, semi-automated) to get it into the system? Do you support API level integrations? Although these things are important, I would attest that these questions are just the beginning, and the easy part of the question.
Instead, we need to be thinking bigger and considering how incoming feeds will be made relevant and how they will support the various processes and stakeholders throughout the business that will use them in different ways. Incoming feed data must be correlated with the organization’s knowledge base, and tailored to meet the needs of the different stakeholders – from security team personnel to management and beyond. Automation of processing feeds will be critical so that you can avoid overwhelming your staff with mundane data processing. Even with automation, you will need to support human processing on feed data to ensure its usefulness. This will require analysis process support as described below.
Finally, the feedback loop will be critical in order to support the processes of evaluating the feeds you are using. This will allow internal events to highlight what feed sources are most applicable to the organization, and what types of data have the most usefulness.
Analysis – Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Analysis is a core feature of the Threat Intelligence Platform and it needs to automate as much of the processing as is technically possible. This requires the platform to be built with data management in mind and automation can’t be an afterthought. ThreatConnect leverages the Diamond Model for Intrusion Analysis as its foundation for making sense of the dataset. This is not a data structure, as ThreatConnect allows each customer to extend their data structures to meet their own unique needs, but instead is a powerful baked-in methodology that allows the platform to make sense of the dataset.
Here are three use-cases that are typically done by ThreatConnect customers. Although I’m discussing three different teams in them, the productivity gains provided by the platform are even more apparent with more limited resources.
- Collections – The organization is receiving feeds, tippers, community-derived intelligence, and possibly detection signatures from a variety of sources. They input all of this incoming data into ThreatConnect, triage its priority, and conduct processing to make it actionable. If the data already exists, the system can add additional context derived by the new source. If the data is new, ThreatConnect may assign initial priorities based on relations to already known threats or previously observed activity. Depending on the data type and integration, and the organization’s policy, processing for action can be completely automated at various thresholds (detect-only, block, report, etc.). Signature management is made simple through the process of automatically associating new feed indicators and context with already present signatures that have been previously associated with the same indicator, while any new indicators can be put into a process for signature creation.
- SOC – The SOC supplies the threat team with potential indicators of compromise via ThreatConnect. The threat team analyzes the indicators to provide additional context by leveraging data service integrations within ThreatConnect such as passive DNS and Reverse Whois tracking, and provides more indicators back to the SOC to search for in their logs. Like in the first use case, this process can be automated through integrations with SIEM or other network defense. This iterates until a point where no more information can be gleaned and the process is completed.
- Incident Response – The IR team processes an incident within ThreatConnect. Throughout the process, incident data is automatically associated with existing knowledge and potentially previous courses of action created during previous incident response activities or by the threat team based on their own proactive efforts. Throughout the process, asking for assistance is as easy as creating a task and assigning it to another team member.
Although redundant for each use case, there are several common analysis requirements supported through the platform.
- The ability for each ThreatConnect customer to customize the platform to meet his or her needs for data storage, management, and processing. This includes customizing data elements requiring storage and management, processes across various teams, as well as the input fields that help staff more quickly support data entry tasks.
- ThreatConnect will create new data, enrich current data, and/or make associations across the existing dataset. This allows the team to work collectively from the same knowledgebase, create more accurate data, and become more productive throughout all their processes.
- Using the ThreatConnect discussions feature allows collaboration across all processes, tasks, and even supports collaboration at the atomic indicator level. The ability to collaborate is essential as teams become larger and more geographically disparate. With the follow feature you can be alerted during or after a process is completed if anything changes.
- Using ThreatConnect workflow, the organization’s process is streamlined and tracked through completion. The ability to do postmortem inspection allows you to continually improve your processes.
- ThreatConnect cloud customers can leverage our Analyst On-Demand feature to seek virtual assistance for one task or across an entire process.
Action – The Pieces Come Together
Integrations are a key requirement of a Threat Intelligence Platform. Whether the integration leverages threat intelligence collected and analyzed from a feed, or new context found during a SOC event or incident response activity; data from the platform needs to make its way back into the products your organization uses to automate your organizations protection. By shortening the timeframe from aggregation, analysis processes, to action with automated integration, you can speed up the processes for detection and protection.
Use-cases with the ThreatConnect Platform:
- Signature Management – Customer defined processes for signature (currently snort, YARA, BRO, OpenIOC, clamAV, CybOX, Suricata) creation, approval, and installation.
- Context specific Watchlists – The process of creating tailored feeds of malicious indicators to hunt for and integrating them into a variety of SIEMs or other products based on common threats, exploits, or other areas of concern.
- Block Approvals – There are a variety of ways to approve malicious indicators for blocking. Depending on the source, rating, or relevancy to your business, the system can approve blocks or submit them for human approval.
- Subsequent Analysis – Sometimes you need to look for the needle in the haystack or allow external partners access to the data for their analysis. API integration with third party data analysis tools allows customers to conduct further analysis. Sharing with external parties may also create its own cycle of sharing and receiving back threat intelligence, so easily extracting data in a structured format has proven an important capability.
But that isn’t where it should stop, as described in the SOC and IR processes, response processing should also be done within the platform as well. To truly realize the potential of the platform, threat intelligence-derived events should be communicated back to the platform as internally derived intelligence for automated association and subsequent processing. This would allow you to prioritize your response based on the risk of the unknown event (based on existing data) and shorten the timeframes for processing of true threats to your network. This also can serve a prioritization scheme for budget approval of threat intelligence feeds that are most relevant to your business.
In order for threat data to be threat intelligence it has to be relevant. In the world of network defense, this means it must be relevant to the threats that your organization faces. For this reason it does not make sense to separate incident response and threat analysis processes or teams into separate platform environments. Doing so would be needlessly segmenting internal intelligence gleaned from incident response and external intelligence from research and indicator feeds. By pulling all your stakeholders and data into a single enterprise security platform you can make everyone more productive, make better decisions, and begin to automate the processes of detecting and responding to cyber threats in a more comprehensive way.
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
Dec. 6, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 1,638
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 6, 2016 04:45 AM EST Reads: 989
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Dec. 6, 2016 04:30 AM EST Reads: 1,923
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 6, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 843
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
Dec. 6, 2016 12:30 AM EST Reads: 1,196
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Dec. 6, 2016 12:30 AM EST Reads: 4,583
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dec. 6, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 889
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 10:30 PM EST Reads: 1,059
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
Dec. 5, 2016 08:45 PM EST Reads: 523
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 2,231
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
Dec. 5, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 2,094
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 416
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 5,060
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Dec. 5, 2016 05:45 PM EST Reads: 1,620
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 5, 2016 04:30 PM EST Reads: 2,074
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Dec. 5, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 870
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 5, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 398
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 4,263
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Dec. 5, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 702
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Dec. 5, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 3,301