This unexpected pandemic has tested the resiliency and security capabilities of many organizations. They quickly realized their ability to enable business continuity in the face of adversity and extreme uncertainty is paramount for their success. But as organizations look to cut costs to offset revenue shortages, security teams must revisit their priorities and identify cost efficiencies, without sacrificing security.

In his blog post, Disruptive Transformation: What Caterpillars Can Teach Us about Cybersecurity in the Pandemic Era, Orion Cassetto describes a phase two of this pandemic era, in which security teams “redirect to new realities.” As part of this phase, security teams are tasked with revisiting priorities and finding solutions that improve operational efficiency to better utilize existing security team resources.

In this post we’ll explain how Exabeam technology can help increase the productivity of existing staff through automated investigations and response.

Start with UEBA

User and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) is a cybersecurity tool that applies analytics to evaluate user behavior and detect anomalies. UEBA solutions leverage machine learning and deep learning to study how users and other entities on a corporate network typically behave, detect abnormal behavior, and figure out if this behavior has security implications.

How Exabeam does UEBA

Exabeam Advanced Analytics improves detection and investigation through user and entity behavior analytics, leveraging machine learning and behavioral modeling to identify attacker tactics, techniques and procedures.

Advanced Analytics detects threats by identifying high risk, anomalous user and entity activity. This happens by using machine learning to baseline normal activity for all users and entities in an environment. Once a baseline is available, the system automatically detects deviations compared to that baseline, the baseline of a peer group, and that of the organization as a whole — and assigns that activity a risk score.

This differs from legacy SIEM technology that relies primarily on static correlation rules for threat detection. Only using correlation rules for threat detection can create a high number of false positives and negatives because they lack context, cannot detect insider threats, and are unable to detect unknown threats.

The Exabeam SIEM Productivity Study found that 85% of respondents said Exabeam is effective at reducing the number of false positives. As a result, only 10% of alerts in Exabeam are false positives compared to 33% for other SIEMs. Also, when using a behavior analysis approach even false positives may be useful. Why? Because an alert means something was abnormal, it just may not have been malicious and thus, these alerts can be helpful for identifying and understanding misconfiguration within your environment.

While an organization may choose to create hundreds of custom correlation rules in an attempt to create an effective detection mechanism, maintaining these rules requires significant effort and can drain already strained analyst resources. Instead behavioral analytics allows SOC managers to better utilize their already lean staff, without overburdening their security analysts with the maintenance effort inherent to static correlation.  

Better detection of advanced threats and lateral movement reduces the risk of security breaches faced by organizations, and Exabeam allows analysts to investigate 83% of daily alerts versus 45% for other SIEMs.

Automated incident investigation

For anomalies detected by Advanced Analytics, Exabeam’s machine-built incident timelines, Smart Timelines, stitch together both the normal and abnormal behavior for users and machines. These timelines include all information an analyst needs to perform a rapid investigation, including normal and abnormal behavior, as well as the surrounding context, like what happened before and after an alert, or whether an alert maps to a MITRE ATT&CK tactic, technique or procedure.

With legacy SIEMs, when security analysts get an alert, they must manually gather evidence from their SIEM and security point products, then assemble it into a timeline to understand the scope of an incident and whether or not it’s a valid concern. This process is incredibly tedious and time consuming. If analysts skip the step of performing these investigations due to time or personnel constraints, they may miss some or all of an attack.

Machine-created timelines allow security teams to easily investigate event details with minimal technical expertise and without repeatedly querying multiple systems. Many SOCs were already facing a staffing shortage, and with the additional budget cuts or hiring freezes, Smart Timelines automate investigation and improve SOC productivity, so security teams can get more out of existing staff and ease staffing burdens. Exabeam reduces the time to complete security tasks by 51%. In contrast, users of other SIEM solutions were only able to reduce time by less than one-third (31%).

Pairing UEBA with SOAR

Security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) is designed to allow organizations to collect security threats data and alerts from multiple sources. It can automatically identify and prioritize cybersecurity risks and respond to low-level security events.

By integrating UEBA and SOAR capabilities, security teams can proactively detect and react to complex security events and perform automated behavioral profiling while also automatically interacting with IT and security systems to mitigate incidents.

With Exabeam Incident Responder, a SOAR solution, security teams can use prebuilt integrations to pull in data from, or push actions out to, third party security and infrastructure tools from a single console. This feature requires no coding or scripting skills and is constantly updated by the Exabeam content team to ensure the integration continues to function as expected over time. With orchestration, analysts can set actions and playbooks to be strung together — using triggers and logic flows — to accomplish complex tasks.

SOC analysts often have a number of disparate tools they use to respond to an incident. 

Switching between each of these applications results in “swivel chair syndrome.” This results in slower response times, analyst fatigue, and ultimately increases the chance of human error. While some analysts may be able to mitigate this issue by writing scripts, this requires sufficient expertise and ongoing maintenance as tools change. Not all analysts have the skills or time to take this approach.

Orchestration allows security teams to manage incident response using multiple tools from a single platform, enabling a more efficient response with less risk of human error. Prebuilt integrations also remove the need for analysts to be able to code to connect to various security tools.

Summary

Ninety percent of Exabeam customers say Exabeam is highly effective at reducing the operational costs associated with using a SIEM for detection and investigation. This is twice as many respondents who use other SIEM solutions. Together, Advanced Analytics and Incident Responder enable security teams to coordinate their operations and save time on detection and investigation. Responding automatically to security incidents improves response time and increases the productivity of existing staff, allowing organizations to get more out of their lean staff.

To learn about how Exabeam Security Management Platform compares to other SIEM solutions in terms of saving time and increasing productivity, realizing value and improving security effectiveness read Exabeam SIEM Productivity Study or watch How to Increase SOC Analyst Productivity and Security Effectiveness.

Product Marketing Manager

Cynthia Gonzalez is a Product Marketing Manager at Exabeam. An advocate for customers, she’s focused on their use of technology to enable and simplify work. She is at her best when bridging the gap between sophisticated software products and the benefits customers can expect. Cynthia is always on the hunt for her next meal and known for her dad jokes –“I’d share my joke about paper, but it’s tearable.

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