As networks become atomized, the need for specialization comes into play. Infrastructure is spread across legacy, on-premises, hybrid, multi-cloud, and edge environments. Organizations have security operations center (SOC), network, cloud operations, and in some cases operational technology (OT) teams all tasked with keeping the business up and running and secure. And each team consists of subject matter experts with specialized levels of knowledge and specific tools that they use.
When capabilities, nomenclature, constructs, and available data are unique to each type of environment, teams operate in silos. So, it’s incredibly difficult to get a big picture view of what is happening across the organization to improve protection, maintain compliance, and optimize performance.
Finding a common language
What’s needed are tools that empower each team to do their job, as well as enable collaboration between teams. And that gets increasingly hard to achieve as the network becomes diverse and dispersed. Different teams have their own tools which they know inside and out, but the crossover value with the other teams is limited.
The first step to breaking down barriers between teams is to find a language that these teams can speak and one tool they can all use without needing to know the uber details of the different environments in which each team operates and how they describe what is happening. Think of it as a common root language but with different dialects. Different teams can share information without having to translate back and forth, and have the capabilities they need to protect their specific environments.
Adding context for greater understanding
The next step is to be able to incorporate context using common key words we all understand. Functionally, the teams may use the tool very differently; SOC analysts may use the tool for threat hunting, and the network team may use it for network visualization and performance. However, one language enriched with organizational context can be the glue that brings both teams together.
Applying context labels to the same, standardized data creates corporate knowledge that they can share. Suddenly, “this IP address talked to that IP address”, becomes “this IP phone talked to a specific container in the cloud” or “this laptop talked to this video surveillance system.” Teams can search for and pull up the information they need using the same tool and the same language. They don’t have to go through a lengthy and cumbersome process of figuring out what something means in their AWS cloud tools versus their Azure cloud tools versus their OT systems and their IT systems. The translation is done for them.
Getting to the same meaning faster
Now, everyone can visualize what they’ve got, what it is doing, and what’s happening to it across environments. They can get to the same meaning much faster and move quickly to do what’s required to protect the organization. For example:
- If there’s a scanning attempt or a brute force attack, the different security teams have a consistent view of what is happening – from the data center across different clouds and to their OT environment. They can conduct their own investigations to answer different questions, share interrelated questions, and collaborate to detect and respond comprehensively.
- The network operations team can use the tool to figure out what’s causing load on the network and resolve performance issues quickly.
- The threat governance team can see if a device is talking to a country of significant concern or if there is social media traffic where it shouldn’t be – and block it.
- The governance risk and compliance team can validate against regulatory controls in place for operational compliance.
From detecting threats to misconfigurations in new services, pathways, devices, and users — When teams have a way to break down enterprise silos and see and understand what is happening, they can improve protection across their increasingly dispersed and diverse environment.