Today, big-data happens to be the center at which the ever-changing dynamics of IT are anchored -- security being one of them. In the emergence of intelligence-based business, big-data is driving information security just as much as it is other business aspects. Out of this has emerged the term "data-driven security."
The traditional problems of IT security have been that data defenses were not specific enough and largely not anticipatory but rather reactive in nature. A data-driven approach provides increased ability to anticipate and block threats based on timely, accurate information about successful and failed attacks as well as successful and failed defenses. It takes into account information from within the organization and, when available, external sources, too. The overall gains of this improved security insight are stronger countermeasures and a better security strategy as a whole.
An example of such new-age solutions is Sourcefire's Immunet, adaptive endpoint security software. Immunet offers what Sourcefire calls "collective immunity," derived from community-provided information on new and emerging data threats. This enables the service to anticipate threats and deliver immunity to its users. Another example is anti-malware tool vendor FireEye, which similarly uses big-data analytics to stop sophisticated attacks by providing tailored countermeasures.
As Scott Crawford, a research director with Enterprise Management Associates, discusses in his blog series, "The Rise of Data-Driven Security," one of the advantages likely to emerge from this is that companies gather data and intelligence from multiple sources for analyzing centrally. Centralized security analytics could lead to better consolidation of endpoint security solutions -- in turn resulting in cost savings and less unnecessary duplication of security effort. Centralized security analytics is important particularly as more and more companies embrace "bring your own device" strategies, christened "bring your own danger" by Damballa, also a player in the data-driven security business.
Gartner analyst Anton Chuvakin ponders whether big analytics for information security would be a harbinger or an outlier. The question could raise debate, but going by approaches adopted by small and big names in the security industry, I think the scale tips heavily toward the former. Information security will be less of a "shoot in the air" affair and more a targeted one driven by specific analytics and tailored to precision for different threats.
This is not to say that data security will be a 100 percent guarantee in the future. As we know, destructive technology grows just as good technology does. In fact, malware designers and other attackers could themselves plunge in and take advantage of big-data to develop better-targeted threats -- if they haven't already. However, with good security analytics, we expect the countermeasures to remain a step ahead of the threats, even as the fight continues.
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