Hewlett-Packard seems to have jumped on the bandwagon of IT vendors using Big Data to beef up companies’ security: in addition to releasing new research about cyber-security risks, it’s issued new data tools for identifying potential security roles and rising threats.
HP’s newly formed HP Security Research (HPSR) organization will issue reports and briefings about new cyber-threats, relying on the company’s work on vulnerability analysis and best security practices. HPSR will pull data from HP DVLaps (the aforementioned vulnerability analysis) and HP Fortify Software Security Research (the software security practices); it will also manage the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), which attempts to identify flaws leading to cyber-attacks.
And attacks are on the rise: according to HP’s 2012 Cyber Security Risk Report, vulnerabilities in SCADA and mobile-based systems have increased over the past few years. At the same time, however, “critical” vulnerabilities declined slightly between 2011 and 2012, although 20 percent of those vulnerabilities still gave attackers “total control” of their target.
On the software front, HP’s ArcSight Express 4.0 merges security data with user-activity, log management and event management (SIEM) platforms—in theory, streamlining the process of collecting and analyzing security-related data. HP Reputation Security Monitor (RepSM) 1.5 relies on data feeds directly from HPSR to identify spear phishing, spam floods, and other maliciousness.
HP isn’t the only company attempting to leverage Big Data to help keep companies safe: earlier in February, IBM launched a platform that relies on analytics to detect various cyber-security threats. Meanwhile, security-oriented firms such as EMC’s RSA have strengthened their tools with analytics packages capable of sifting through massive volumes of network data, such as packets and logs.
While the use of Big Data to harden corporate security has become an ever-more-prevalent theme among IT vendors and security experts, it also raises a key question: when it comes to IT, is there such a thing as too much security? What happens when measures designed to protect data start to hinder work?
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