January 31, 2017

Behavior Analytics Looks to Leapfrog SIEMs

George Leopold

(nikkytok/Shutterstock)

So-called “credentials-based attacks” on corporate and government networks using, for example, stolen passwords or other authentication mechanisms, are among the fastest growing cyber threats. However, skeptics are questioning the ability of traditional security information and event management (SIEM) systems to detect the use of stolen passwords or insider attacks.

Exabeam, the behavioral analytics specialist based in San Mateo, Calif., said this week it is attempting to plug the SIEM gap with a new security intelligence platform designed to sweep up more data that can be used by analysts to identify security threats. Once threats are spotted, the platform is targeted at assisting human analysts handling incident response.

The company also is targeting the growing SIEM market that is expected to reach an estimated $3 billion by 2020. Market watcher ABI Research predicted that log-based SIEM approaches would be separated and eventually integrated with user and entity behavior analytics platforms such as Exabeam’s.

Meanwhile, emerging deep learning algorithms also are expected to make inroads in the cyber-security market, ABI Research said. Overall, it forecast that cyber-security tools based on machine learning could push big data and analytics spending to an estimated $96 billion by 2021.

Along with analytics and a log manager, the Exabeam security platform includes an “incident responder” and a “threat hunter” capability. The former handles “chronic” security shortfalls ranging from stolen passwords and data theft to malware and phishing attacks. The threat detector is designed to allow security analysts to scan for network attacks and then search user profiles that might be related to specific attacks.

Those tools are part of a broader effort by cyber-security vendors to offer real-time threat detection, a capability that would help reduce the scope of increasingly inevitable attacks and data breaches.

Exabeam said its new platform also allows for the integration of cloud-based log management and incident response data. Once connected to cloud services, data is linked to on-premise user behavior.

The company added that its log manager and incident response tools have been undergoing beta testing among several unnamed commercial companies and public organizations. The platform also will be demonstrated during next month’s RSA security conference in San Francisco.

As the threat of data breaches grows, threat detection and response has fallen short, asserted Nir Polak, CEO and co-founder of Exabeam. “A completely new approach to data protection is required, one that relies on modern analytics and automation, married to human expertise.”

Exabeam’s log manager collects and indexes security data for analysts to search. The company notes that pricing is not based on data volume, enabling better compliance reporting along with security scanning. The analytics suite is touted as being able to detect credential-based threats even when attackers switch devices or identities.

The five components of the security intelligence platform can be deployed separately or in combination, the company said.

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