The ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ Guide to Black Hat and Security Intelligence

“Found my coat and grabbed my hat / Made the bus in seconds flat,” from “A Day in the Life” on The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” perfectly describes my harried journey to my first Black Hat conference to talk to customers about security intelligence and information security.

Just as Paul McCartney huffs out of breath in the song, so was I — I didn’t want to be late for the conference on my first day, but the monorail was closed, so I had to rush to take a bus to the Mandalay. When I arrived, I quickly picked up my credentials and made my way to the exhibition hall.

The hall was a sight to behold and reminded me of the cast of characters featured on the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Though some vendors were dressed in suits, uniforms and casual clothes, there were also plenty of people in costumes. Aliens, women with pink hair and vikings filled the hall, hawking their wares as if they were at a medicine show. Different vendors had point solutions, addressed fraud and had several solutions for different aspects of security.

3 Things to Look for When Deciding What Security Company to Partner With

That’s when it hit me. The chaos of Black Hat was just like the chaos of the information security industry. With all that noise, how does a customer decide which security company to partner with?

In making “Sgt. Pepper’s,” The Beatles took some time off, cleared their minds of the noise around them and then dedicated themselves to writing the album. Customers should do the same and consider the following when choosing a security intelligence partner:

1. Look for Leaders

First, customers should look for a vendor that is a leader in analysts’ reports, and not just in one or two areas. This vendor should lead or be a visionary in most areas of the reports. Attackers are highly sophisticated, so customers need a company that is on top of its game to protect their company’s assets. Because The Beatles were visionaries, “Sgt. Pepper’s” was a groundbreaking album that forever changed the music industry. Customers should look for that same kind of innovation and thought leadership when considering their security needs.

2. Make Sure the Framework Is Meticulous

These companies should also have a well thought-out security architecture or framework in place. Fraudsters are relentless and are attacking systems from all directions. There are plenty of opportunities for vulnerabilities, from users to the network and applications that could be infected by malware. Having this stable architecture allows customers to take a cohesive approach to thwarting these attackers. It took The Beatles 34 hours to complete “A Day in the Life,” when one of their earliest songs took only 10 hours to create. Writing this song combined the work of many artists and instruments and required McCartney and John Lennon to collaborate — no small task!

3. Integration Is Key for Security Intelligence

The company’s architecture should also be integrated. When integrating security, companies are basically casting a large, protective net over their assets.

Consider, for instance, IBM’s security architecture. Each of the main areas of people, data, applications, fraud protection and infrastructure are integrated and work together to form a protective barrier. For example, the “people” pillar works in conjunction with the “data” pillar; thus, privileged access to the customer’s data is tracked and monitored. When anomalous activity is detected, the security intelligence event monitor discovers it and shuts it down. If this was dishonest activity — not just an accident — the data is stored to do complete incident forensics.

Imagine what would happen if there wasn’t this level of integration in “A Day in the Life”? The world would not have been graced with this work of art.

Read the IT Executive Guide: Transitioning to Total Security Intelligence

The Final Chord

The final, iconic chord in “A Day in the Life” is brilliant, with all the artists striking one note to draw listeners to a singular point. So many parts of the song worked together to weave a cohesive story, and everything came together with that unified last chord.

With all the noise out there today, it can be difficult to decide who to partner with for information security needs. But if companies choose a partner that is highly rated by analysts and has a well-defined and integrated architecture, they will be able to rest easy that everything has ultimately come together to keep them protected.

More from Intelligence & Analytics

The 13 Costliest Cyberattacks of 2022: Looking Back

2022 has shaped up to be a pricey year for victims of cyberattacks. Cyberattacks continue to target critical infrastructures such as health systems, small government agencies and educational institutions. Ransomware remains a popular attack method for large and small targets alike. While organizations may choose not to disclose the costs associated with a cyberattack, the loss of consumer trust will always be a risk after any significant attack. Let’s look at the 13 costliest cyberattacks of the past year and…

What Can We Learn From Recent Cyber History?

The Center for Strategic and International Studies compiled a list of significant cyber incidents dating back to 2003. Compiling attacks on government agencies, defense and high-tech companies or economic crimes with losses of more than a million dollars, this list reveals broader trends in cybersecurity for the past two decades. And, of course, there are the headline breaches and supply chain attacks to consider. Over recent years, what lessons can we learn from our recent history — and what projections…

When Logs Are Out, Enhanced Analytics Stay In

I was talking to an analyst firm the other day. They told me that a lot of organizations purchase a security information and event management (SIEM) solution and then “place it on the shelf.” “Why would they do that?” I asked. I spent the majority of my career in hardware — enterprise hardware, cloud hardware, and just recently made the jump to security software, hence my question. “Because SIEMs are hard to use. A SIEM purchase is just a checked…

4 Most Common Cyberattack Patterns from 2022

As 2022 comes to an end, cybersecurity teams globally are taking the opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and draw whatever conclusions and insights they can about the threat landscape. It has been a challenging year for security teams. A major conflict in Europe, a persistently remote workforce and a series of large-scale cyberattacks have all but guaranteed that 2022 was far from uneventful. In this article, we’ll round up some of the most common cyberattack patterns we…