Unapplied Knowledge: Using Endpoint Intelligence to Earn an A-Plus in Security

May 19, 2017
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3 min read

There’s a famous quote that goes something like this: “Unapplied knowledge never benefited anyone.” I remember learning that back in college when working on a group project for a professor I’d had the previous semester. I earned a strong A in his class the first term, but the project we turned in the second time around didn’t go over as well. I was pretty disappointed when he handed it back to me with a bright red C circled on the front page. Then I read his comments on the back: “I-Lung, if you had used the context you gained from last semester’s project you could have knocked this one out of the park. What a missed opportunity.”

That lesson has stuck with me my whole life, and I see it play out pretty much everywhere I look.

Completing the Security Picture

Take security analytics, for example. Security information and event management (SIEM) solutions collect, correlate and analyze security events from a wide variety of sources to help analysts make informed decisions about event alerts and, ultimately, remediation techniques.

Watch the on-demand webinar: The IBM Security App Exchange Series feat. BigFix for QRadar

That’s all well and good, but to get a complete security picture that includes endpoints, analysts often have to access additional solutions and tools for deeper insights. And even when analysts can find ways to access endpoint data, it might not be available in real time, resulting in both imprecise correlation and ineffective incident investigation.

Then there’s the manual element. That data often has to be manually consolidated or integrated with the information provided by the SIEM solution, which takes time. Furthermore, the formats are frequently inconsistent, so there’s some translation work to do. This also interjects the potential for human error that can beset even the most skilled security professionals.

So while many analysts understand that there is a vast amount of unused endpoint knowledge that can be used to fortify existing security analytics, there is a very real challenge when it comes to accessing this information in an accurate, fast and cost-effective way.

But that doesn’t have to be the case anymore.

Digging Deeper for Endpoint Intelligence

Enter the IBM BigFix App for QRadar. Available on May 23, this app gives users the ability to view the deep endpoint intelligence collected by IBM BigFix alongside the larger insights provided by the IBM QRadar SIEM platform on a single screen. That means both security analysts and security operations center (SOC) managers can do their jobs more effectively.

BigFix, which manages and secures over 100 million endpoints across the globe, provides a treasure trove of endpoint security-related data that lets users see threats, understand them completely and act with precision to remediate them. Now all that data is viewable on IBM QRadar, an SIEM platform that applies advanced analytics to chain multiple incidents together and better identify security offenses that need action. Working in harmony inside the app, these two platforms can help security teams make better decisions faster.

Security analysts can now discover real-time endpoint security details such as patches, vulnerabilities, antivirus status, security configurations, malware and attack alerts to help them investigate incidents and determine potential risks. They can also analyze that data and find endpoints with a similar security status, gaining new insights and reducing threat determination time.

Leveraging Unapplied Knowledge

With the BigFix App for QRadar, SOC managers now have deeper visibility into the entire organization’s overall endpoint security posture, plus the ability to track endpoints and identify areas that need attention. In essence, security professionals can now add the previously unapplied endpoint security knowledge from BigFix to the existing rich set of data available through QRadar on a single screen. Increased visibility, coupled with more effective investigation, means faster and more accurate remediation across your entire enterprise.

I may not be in college anymore, but I still appreciate the lesson my professor taught me about the value of applying unapplied knowledge. I’m pretty sure the way this app helps users apply the previously unapplied endpoint knowledge to existing security analytics would earn an A in his book.

I-Lung Kao
Product Manager, IBM

I-Lung Kao is an IBM Product Manager currently focusing on IBM BigFix endpoint security solutions. He has 20+ years of industry experience, primarily in the ...
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