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SOC 3.0 and Proactive Security Management: the HP Aspiration

NelsonHall recently attended HP’s security analyst day in London. The session provided a deep dive into HP's threat intelligence and the application of this intelligence into its security products line.

Concerns about security issues are expanding beyond CSOs/CISOs to the rest of the C suite, even commanding the attention of CEOs.  HP highlighted that

  • Conversations with clients now focus primarily on the business issues of security, questioning the increasing cost of security versus the level of protection delivered
  • The increasing complexity and difficulty - and cost - of resolving threats.

The increased importance of IT security is a consequence of:

  • Attacks on organizations becoming more deadly (recent examples include Target’s CEO being removed after malware was found to have had stolen details for 40m customer credit cards and Ebay where personal information was stolen for 233m customers)
  • The transformation of IT infrastructures to cloud and mobile devices
  • Needing to comply with increasing regulations (SOX, Basel III, GLBA, PCI etc.).

To illustrate the increasing attention being paid to cyber security, after the recent attack in which customer contact information was taken from 76m households and 7m small businesses. JP Morgan’s CEO recently stated that JP Morgan will likely double its level of cyber security spend within the next five years.

HP highlighted some innovation it is looking to apply to security operations centers (SOCs). HP described three levels of SOC:

  • SOC 1.0, ‘Secure the Perimeter’: base level of security analytics currently employed today by most MSSP vendors
  • SOC 2.0, ‘Secure the Application’. HP detailed the use of monitoring DNS records within security event information monitoring (SEIM). Monitoring the DNS gives a much higher number of events than the classic model (21bn vs 4.5bn within HP alone); it also gives a deeper insight into application security. Currently in beta phase at HP internally, 25% of the malware found so far is new and had not been detected by traditional methods. HP also detailed a case in which this style of DNS records search was used for an external client, using historic logs to capture a number of previously unknown vulnerabilities.
  • SOC 3.0, ‘Secure the Business’. The aspirational SOC level 3.0 uses predictive analytics and HP’s threat database to identify the types of threat that a client experiences and then proactively work to reduce the number of threats.

HP describes its internal SOC as currently at level 1.5; the monitoring of DNS records has not yet been rolled out across the company. Reaching level 3.0 – which is about proactive security management - will be a multi-year journey (around five years?) requiring a more sizeable threat database and a large set of use cases. HP will roll out its central threat database to more partners and receive information from as many clients as possible, then utilize big data analytics to discover trends in the billions of events monitored. And of course, the imminent break up of HP Group into HP Enterprise and HP Inc. will add to the complexity of servicing both new HP companies.

(NelsonHall will be publishing a market assessment in managed security services in Q4, along with detailed vendor profiles on selected key vendors, including HP)

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