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11/14/2012
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Monster Chooses Splunk For Big Data Security

Popular job search website looks to Splunk, rising big data star, to meet its online security and compliance goals.

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Monster Worldwide, parent company of the popular Monster.com job website, has chosen Splunk software to manage security, monitoring and compliance efforts for its online hosting business, Splunk announced on Monday.

Splunk's log-management and analytic-systems software captures, monitors, indexes and analyzes machine-generated, real-time data. It organizes this information in a searchable repository, and also provides a Web-based interface for generating reports, graphs, visualizations, alerts and other data-driven insights.

In a phone interview with InformationWeek, Splunk chief marketing officer Steve Sommer said Splunk's ability to index machine-generated data can help companies adhere to public and private sector security monitoring and compliance mandates, including requirements to collect and maintain specific audit trails.

Security issues come into play as well.

"More and more, companies are realizing they need to save their intellectual property to prevent competitors from scraping content off their website," Sommer said. Splunk's software monitors security incidents and attacks in real time, providing users with information for fighting cyber threats.

"In the case of Monster, they realized the threats of security espionage, hacking and cyber terrorism have changed. Now virtually all data is security-relevant," said Sommer. "It's no longer strictly security data that security people need to access. They need to look at applications' database access records and things like that."

[ To paraphrase an old saying, if you torture data long enough, it'll tell you what you want to hear. Learn 6 Lies About Big Data. ]

The Monster news may not exactly be earth-shaking, but it's certainly good news for Splunk, a startup that some industry watchers are calling a rising star in the big data market.

Splunk last month announced Splunk 5.0, the latest version of its enterprise product that promises to generate reports up to 1,000 times faster than its predecessor, the company claims. It also unveiled two big data tools for Hadoop users: Splunk Hadoop Connect and the Splunk App for HadoopOps.

In August, Splunk opened its cloud-based Splunk Storm, a service that helps enterprises monitor applications running on public cloud platforms, to the general public after months of beta testing.

"We selected Splunk because it applies across use cases -- including security and compliance, applications, web analytics, operations, web intelligence and overall business insight. Splunk is the enterprise data platform that we will run our business on and is a critical component of our security and compliance and big data strategies," said Mark Conway, Monster Worldwide senior VP and CIO, in a statement.

Splunk also made news Monday when the National Advertising Division (NAD), a self-regulated investigative unit managed by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, determined that Splunk competitor Sumo Logic "took necessary action" by discontinuing comparative claims against Splunk's software.

Splunk officials had challenged claims made in Sumo Logic's online advertisements, calling them "false and unsupported," the NAD said. The ads claimed Sumo Logic had "better log management" than Splunk, and that its service, unlike Splunk's, could deploy in 15 minutes. They also said that Splunk's platform included "hidden on-premises costs."

In response to NAD's inquiry, Sumo Logic chose to discontinue the advertising claims rather than respond to the merits of Splunk's complaint.

"NAD has consistently held that comparative superiority claims must be supported by reliable data against all, or a significant portion of, the market. Further, in industries where innovations and changes are constant, advertisers bear the burden of regularly monitoring and re-examining their advertising claims to make certain that the underlying data upon which they are based is current," NAD said in a statement.

Splunk officials, citing NAD regulations, declined to comment on the NAD announcement. They did say, however, that they had brought the matter to NAD's attention earlier this year because they found Sumo Logic's claims to be "fallacious without any merit or substantiation," Sommer said.

Faster networks are coming, but security and monitoring systems aren't necessarily keeping up. Also in the new, all-digital Data Security At Full Speed special issue of InformationWeek: A look at what lawmakers around the world are doing to add to companies' security worries. (Free registration required.)

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