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9/1/2016
11:41 AM
Ned Miller
Ned Miller
Partner Perspectives
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Improvements In Cybersecurity Require More Than Sharing Threat-Intelligence Information

Interoperability and automation are keys to defining success in computer network defense.

I read a recent article covering the cybersecurity marketplace that says the sharing of threat intelligence data could significantly disrupt malicious cyberactivity. The author continues to use “could” in every sentence in the rest of that paragraph. Cybersecurity professionals need more than” could.” 

Timely detection and responses in the face of advanced targeted attacks are major challenges for security teams across every sector. Most organizations rely on a multivendor security infrastructure with products that rarely communicate well with one another. The shortage of trained security staff and lack of automated processes result in inefficiencies and protection gaps.

Interoperability and integration improve effectiveness. The active sharing of data makes it practical and possible for every security control to leverage the strengths and experiences of the other tools in the security infrastructure. Rather than treating each malware interaction as a standalone event, adaptive threat prevention integrates processes and data through an efficient messaging layer. This approach connects end-to-end components to generate and consume as much actionable intelligence as possible from each contact and process.

Tear Down The Fences

The shift to adaptive threat prevention helps overcome the functional fences that impede detection, response, and any chance of improved prevention. Silos of data and point products complicate operations and increase risk. The actions of each security control and the context of each situation are poorly captured and seldom shared within an organization, let alone among a larger community of trust.

Unintegrated security functions keep organizations in firefighting mode, always reacting and pouring human resources into every breach. Process inefficiency exhausts scarce investigative resources and lengthens the timeline during which data and networks are exposed to determined attackers. The length of time from breach to detection has a direct correlation to extent of damage. Separate islands of security products, data sets, and operations provide sophisticated attackers with ample space and noise that they can use to their advantage while their malicious code enters, hides, and persists within and throughout an organization.

Intel Security’s DXL is the foundation for enabling the ideal adaptive security ecosystem. It is a near real-time, bidirectional communications fabric that allows security components to share relevant data among endpoint, network, and other IP-enabled systems. It provides command and control options for otherwise inaccessible systems, and benefits organizations by enabling automated response, vastly reduced response time, and better containment.

The goal of DXL is to promote open collaborative security, enable active command and control, forge interoperability (plug-and-play) among distributed elements from disparate vendors, and ensure consistency and speed of outcomes. The interactions among these components can use their own (standardized) layered application protocols, depending on the use case. DXL acts as the foundational service -- just as standardized roads and transportation are foundational to commerce or HTTP and browsers are foundational to the internet.

Traditionally, communication between security products has been application programming interface (API)-driven, resulting in a fragile patchwork of communicating pairs. As threats have grown more sophisticated, this model is simply no longer acceptable, as the time from detection to reaction to containment can take days. To accelerate this process and keep up with the enormous volume of sophisticated threats, security architectures must undergo a significant evolution and be able to respond in minutes or seconds.

Shared threat information and synchronized real-time enforcement are necessities, not luxuries. Until now, this has been utilized only for specific products or single point-to-point integrations. Intel Security’s DXL supplies a standardized communication solution to this real-time problem.

Ned Miller, a 30+ year technology industry veteran, is the Chief Technology Strategist for the Intel Security Public Sector division. Mr. Miller is responsible for working with industry and government thought leaders and worldwide public sector customers to ensure that ... View Full Bio
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