As we continue deep dives into our coverage areas, we now hit security management and compliance.

If you don’t like it, SECaaS!

We have taken a bunch of calls this year from folks looking to have someone else manage their SIEM. Why? Because after two or three failed attempts, they figure if they are going to fail again, they might as well have a service provider to blame. Though that has put some wind in the sails of the service providers who offer monitoring services, and provided an opening for those who can co-source and outsource the SIEM. Just make sure to poke and prod the providers about how you are supposed to respond to an incident when they have your data. And to be clear… they have your data.

Counter Intelligence

As we mentioned in the network security deep dive, threat intelligence (TI) is hot. But in terms of security management, many early TI services were just about integrating IP black lists and malware file signatures – not all that intelligent! Now you will see all sorts of intelligence services on malware, botnets, compromised devices, and fraud analytics – and the ability to match their indicators against your own security events. This is not just machine-generated data, but often includes user behaviors, social media analysis, and DoS tactics. Much of this comes from third-party services, whose sole business model is to go out looking for malware and figure out how best to detect and deal with it. These third parties have been very focused on making it easier to integrate data into your SIEM, so keep an eye out for partnerships between SIEM players and TI folks trying to make SIEM useful.

Shadow of Malware

SIEMs have gotten a bit of a black eye over last couple years – just as vendors were finally coming to terms with compliance requirements, they got backhanded by customer complaints about failures to adequately detect malware. As malware detection has become a principal use case for SIEM investment, vendors have struggled to keep pace – first with more types of analytics, then more types of data, and then third-party threat intelligence feeds. For a while it felt like watching an overweight mall cop chase teenage shoplifters – funny so long as the cop isn’t working for you. But now some of the mall cops are getting their P90X on and chasing the mallrats down – yes, that means we see SIEMs becoming faster, stronger, and better at solving current problems. Vendors are quietly embracing “big data” technologies, a variety of built-in and third-party analytics, and honest-to-goodness visualization tools.

So you will hear a lot about big data analytics on the show floor. But as we said in our Security Management 2.5 research, don’t fall into the trap. It doesn’t actually matter what the underlying technology is so long as it meets your needs, at the scale you require.

Third time is… the same

There hasn’t been much activity around compliance lately, as it got steamrolled by the malware juggernaut. Although your assessors show up right on time every quarter, and you haven’t figured out how to get rid of them quicker yet, have you? We didn’t think so. PCI 3.0 is out but nobody really cares. It’s the same old stuff, and you have a couple years to get it done. Which gives you plenty of time for cool malware detection stuff at the show.

The ‘GRC’ meme will be on the show floor, but that market really continues to focus on automating the stuff you need to do, without adding real value to either your security program or your business. A good thing, yes, but not sexy enough to build a marketing program on. Aggregating data, reducing data, and pumping out some reports – good times. If your organization is big enough and you have many moving technology parts (yeah, pretty much everyone), then these technologies make sense. Though odds are you already have something for compliance automation. The question is whether it sucks so bad that you need to look for something else?

VM Plateaus

You know a market has reached the proverbial summit when the leading players talk about the new stuff they are doing. Clearly the vulnerability management market is there, along with its close siblings configuration management and patch management, though the latter two can be subsumed by the Ops group (to which security folks say: “Good riddance!”). The VM folks are talking about passive monitoring, continuous assessment, mobile devices, and pretty much everything except vulnerability management. Which makes sense because VM just isn’t sexy. It is a zero-sum game, which will force all the major players in the space to broaden their offerings – did we mention they will all be talking ‘revolutionary’ new features?

But the first step in a threat management process is “Assessment.” A big part of assessment is discovering and understanding the security posture of devices and applications. That is vulnerability management, no? Of course it is – but the RSA Conference is about the shiny, not useful