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FCW : April 15, 2016
GameChanger DATA ANALYTICS CRITICAL FOR DATA DEFENSE SPONSORED REPORT DATA DRIVEN CYBERSECURITY As cyberthreats become more pervasive and sophisticated, it’s more important than ever for agencies to be able to quickly detect, contain and remediate those threats. Despite this fact, cyberthreats remain on government networks for an average of 16 days before being detected and suppressed, according to a 2015 report from Meritalk. Despite clear evidence that big data analytics is an important weapon in fighting both external and insider threats, federal agencies still aren’t using these tools to their greatest potential and reaping the full benefits. According to the Meritalk report, only about one-third of cyber professionals are prioritizing big data analytics for cybersecurity. Yet the report also found 86 percent of them believe big data analytics will improve their agency’s cybersecurity efforts. Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents said their organizations are overwhelmed by the amount of security data they collect, and 78 percent said that at least some of it goes unanalyzed. The key here, says Adam Cohn, Government Affairs Director for Splunk, in a recent blog post about the survey results, is for agencies to recognize that all data can be relevant to security. An analytics platform can convert this data into critical operational intelligence for detecting and addressing cyberthreats. A big data analytics platform is an effective way to correlate data from a variety of sources, identify anomalies, and recreate the steps hackers took to initiate and carry out an attack. For insider attacks, a data analytics platform can apply behavioral analysis to create risk profiles. Armed with that information, the system can distinguish between malicious behavior and innocuous behavior. With big data analytics, government cybersecurity professionals say they can better detect a breach in process, monitor streams of data in real time, and conduct a conclusive root-cause analysis after a breach, the Meritalk survey found. That’s precisely the reason agencies should consider focusing more effort on applying data analytics to cybersecurity. Data Analytics are Essential to Effective Cybersecurity There are many types of data analytics platforms currently available. Finding the right one for your agency’s needs takes more than a cursory evaluation. It requires knowing what you want to analyze now and might want to analyze in the future. Before narrowing down the choices, ask these questions: n Is your agency’s use of sensor and mobile data growing? n Does your agency’s mission expose it to a growing array of threats? n How fast are your data stores growing? n Do you have IT experts who can customize a system to fit your specific requirements? After narrowing down those choices based on answers to these questions, make sure the platform: n Is extremely scalable n Is customizable, if you need that capability n Can easily manage all the unstructured and structured data types your agency uses today or is likely to use in the future n Can automatically index data you don’t yet understand. Some tools require you to understand the data set before ingesting the data, but that can be difficult with machine data, which continues to evolve. For example, data formats can change as the result of an upgrade. n Integrates well with your structured data, such as databases, personnel records and dates, as well as existing reporting tools, dashboards, consoles and portals n Has a history of continued evolution as data types and user needs change By completely and honestly answering the questions form the first list, and ensuring any potential data analytics platform you’re considering can fulfill those functions from the second list, you can ensure you’re meeting your agency’s needs. Find the Right Data Analytics Solution Shutterstock.com 0316_GameChanger_ClearShark_Splunk_NetApp_final.indd 2 3/17/16 12:49 PM
March 30, 2016
April 30, 2016