August 5, 2015 By Roger Hellman 2 min read

Years ago I was texting with my teenage daughter, and she sent me a message saying “Oh Dad, TMI.” Now I tend to be pretty “with it” even though I am middle-aged, but back then I didn’t know what TMI stood for. And, of course, I didn’t want to admit that to her, so I Googled TMI and found out that it stood for “too much information” (I’m sure you already knew that). I don’t remember how many hits it received at the time, but I Googled TMI again today and it returned over 45 million results in 0.49 seconds. It appears that we even have too much information about too much information.

The customers I work with say the same thing no matter what industry or geography they are in: They are bombarded with too much security data — far more than they can handle. IT, the need for security and TMI are pervasive. Even utilities nowadays are using computerized systems and automatic meter-reading technologies to collect data, and their staffs are overwhelmed. The same is true of clients across industries like banking, financial services, health care and energy, where one customer collects over 2 billion security events per day.

Striking a Balance With Security Intelligence

Organizations are drowning in data, but what they really need is actionable information and, ultimately, a small, manageable list of suspicious incidents on which to work. That’s where security intelligence and security information and event management (SIEM) can help.

A strong SIEM solution collects log data from across the IT environment, including networking devices, servers, endpoints, applications, databases, scanners, threat intelligence feeds, configurations, numerous security products and more. But data isn’t information.

So the SIEM platform takes that data and performs normalization, real-time correlation and applies intelligence and advanced analytics to ultimately come up with the millions — or even billions — of security events per day. Then it distills those events down to a small number of incidents (removing false positives) that require investigation. This is that short, manageable list that your staff can keep up with on a day-to-day basis. ABLV Bank is one example of a company that’s creating a manageable list out of a mountain of data.

IBM QRadar SIEM goes beyond just collecting logs. It also looks at network flows — for the detection of zero-day attacks and advanced persistent threats (APTs) — and anomalies to generate alerts for unusual behaviors that could indicate a security breach.

Solutions Offer Real-Time Advantages

The right security intelligence platform allows customers to get the visibility necessary to see what is happening in real time. It collects and integrates data from multiple sources and provides a view into threats, fraud, insider theft and other security exposures that require quick action. With the added resources of threat intelligence feeds like X-Force and X-Force Exchange, and the ability to manage risks and vulnerabilities, this solution can help keep organizations ahead of threats.

As an integrated platform that can be deployed quickly, it helps reduce the need for multiple point products, which can dramatically increase efficiency, lower costs and reduce investigation time. Case in point: One customer has 19 individual point products that can be replaced with QRadar. There’s even a cloud version for businesses ready to make that step.

Now if only I had a solution to help me whittle down all the TMI of my daily job into a manageable list of actionable items.

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