If there’s one thing IT professionals can agree on, it’s the need for security. Emerging malware threats, socially engineered attacks and code vulnerabilities coupled with constant worry about employee use of corporate networks have IT pros looking for way to solve the cybersecurity problem once and for all. While there’s no silver bullet here — and no offering that provides 100 percent coverage against any breach — the evolving field of security analytics holds real promise. In fact, according to a recent CSO Online article, the technology ranked as having the highest perceived value compared to cost but scored next-to-last in penetration. What gives?
Big Value in Security Analytics
Survey data collected by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) found that 75 percent of companies polled said they received the value they expected from security analytics solutions, while 25 percent received greater value than anticipated. More than half of the respondents — 57 percent — said that the use of unique or specialized data for context was the primary driver of their interest in the technology, while 36 percent cited better data correlation, and 29 percent pointed to lower false positives when using analytics.
As noted by ITProPortal, 62 percent of IT professionals said that existing security controls suffer from the problem of too many false positives and alerts, making it difficult to separate threat fact from paranoid fiction. And yet — despite 95 percent of companies saying they’ve heard about security analytics tools — these solutions struggle to penetrate the market. Value isn’t the issue, but there is something holding businesses back.
According to David Monahan, research director for EMA, part of the problem is time. Security analytics is still in its infancy, and just like cloud computing, it will take time for companies to come around to the idea that analytics isn’t only viable, but what Monahan calls “the next step in detection and response technology.” He points to the evolution of machine learning algorithms and analysis techniques, arguing that the commercial market has advanced significantly in just a few years.
As Tech Target asserts, security user behavior analytics (UBA) represents a new way for companies to understand and identify threats and anomalies in their network. By drilling down and monitoring network behaviors at a per-user level and then analyzing this data for causal patterns or indications of common threats, it’s possible for security analytics solutions to return not only accurate alerts, but extremely timely warnings — long before small problems have the chance to balloon and become massive issues.
So what’s the takeaway here? Security analytics solutions score high marks from IT professionals for good reason, but large-scale market penetration will take more time. Part of the issue is familiarity, because companies need to see the value of these solutions in action over the long term. Function forms the other half: High value is no longer enough in isolation, and emerging security tools must deliver top-tier, per-user reporting to spur broader penetration and grab a bigger market share.