A Cybersecurity Ecosystem Is the Key to Great IT Security

IT security has long experienced a tension between point solutions and integrated solutions. As threats grow more serious, complex, and frequent, however, we see many of the most forward-thinking organizations adopt a more unified approach.

No one product is ever going to maximize your cybersecurity posture. At the same time, too many point solutions will inevitably become cumbersome and ineffectual.

What seems to work well is to carefully integrate multi-faceted solutions. The best practice is to tie together Intrusion Detection (IDS), Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software, and Privileged Access Management (PAM). This offers an efficient way to address the frequency, complexity, and rapidly changing nature of cyber-attacks. These elements synergistically focus on attributes such as analytics, machine learning, information discovery, authentication, and interoperability. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) refers to this approach as a “Cyber Ecosystem.” We like to refer to it as a cybersecurity ecosystem.

Like an Immune System for the Enterprise

According to a DHS whitepaper on the subject, an organization should adopt a cyber ecosystem to mirror the body’s immune system. They envision scenarios in which healthy devices detect others that are infected. Or, a device isolates the infected source and relays information about the suspected threat to security administrators. The paper also envisions how healthy devices can employ threshold defenses and restore communications to affected components once infections are mitigated.

Component Solutions in a Cybersecurity Ecosystem

The solutions that are selected for integration into a cybersecurity ecosystem are just as important as the overall intent of the ecosystem’s design. The combination of IDS, SIEM and PAM solidifies threat management and IT Compliance in the ecosystem. Done right, each element “plays well” with other systems to reinforce IT security:

  • Intrusion Detection – Efficient intrusion detection requires a multi-faceted approach. At the network level, it should quickly identify unauthorized traffic and anomalous behavior. Network traffic is not blocked; rather, information is gathered so any suspicious activity found in the normal flow of data is identified and logged. Host-based intrusion detection does the same thing but on specific devices. It operates on a rules-based model, passively gathering, logging, and alerting on suspicious activity that occurs on all devices connected to the network.
  • SIEM – With SIEM, enterprise security data comes from multiple locations. A centralized system is used to store and analyze these data. SIEM combines security information management and security event management so data can be effectively collected from servers, network equipment, and end-user devices including mobile smartphones and tablets. SIEM systems also combine security-related information from antivirus software and firewalls. From a centralized management console, one can assess the health of the network and even flag activity that seems to stray from the norm. Administrators have control over how anomalous events are handled, but they must first profile what normal event conditions look like.

PAM at the Core of the Cybersecurity Ecosystem

PAM functions as a core of the ecosystem, a unifier of SIEM, IDS, and other systems. After all, virtually every suspicious event flagged by SIEM or IDS involves a user of some kind. Who is the user? Is he or she from inside or outside the organization? What are his or her access privileges? Is he or she authorized to take certain actions, and so on.

The PAM solution proposed by WALLIX plays the role well. It is compatible and interoperable with others. Like SIEM, the WALLIX Bastion is centralized. This avoids many of the challenges of having disparate security systems in a complex IT environment. Administrators can access the entire system and its features using a single login. They can define access control policies, and enforce/manage them, across all a company’s global assets.

The WALLIX Bastion is also known for being lightweight and adaptable. This is essential for a cybersecurity ecosystem. It takes a flexible, centralized PAM system, combined with other security assets, to track and analyze all network activity. In today’s IT ecosystems, applications are accessed by external users. Cloud services extend the boundaries of even the smallest enterprise networks. Vendors and other third-party users can access various IT resources from anywhere. The WALLIX Bastion’s single gateway makes it easier to manage interdependent and fluid environments.

The all-in-one Bastion comprises a few critical PAM tools. Access Manager controls the accesses privileges of every user within and outside the primary network. It provides an independent gateway for privileged users to access other parts of the system. Password Manager prevents local administrators from making changes to protection settings and data management controls. Activity everywhere in the network, including the identities of all individuals who attempt and have access, is tracked by Session Manager. Real-time auditing allows for effective tracking of internal and external privileged users.

WALLIX’s integrated PAM solution is engineered to address the cybersecurity challenges of today. Its flexibility allows for implementation in-house or in the Cloud. Deployment can therefore be as prompt and effective as an organization needs it to be. Combined with intrusion detection, SIEM, and other relevant security assets, WALLIX is a team player that can complement a robust cybersecurity ecosystem that meets DHS and industry standards.

Want to know more about how WALLIX integrates with specific SIEM and IDS systems? Visit our Technology Alliance program or get in touch.