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Data is only as good as what you are able to do with it.  Not only does the cybersecurity universe collect data, but individual enterprises also collect cybersecurity data from within their organization as well as from external sources in order to add to more context and relevance. All data needs to be analyzed in order to create actionable insights. The insights offered allow you to prevent incidents, and if you are able to detect patterns and anomalies in your data, it can help with predicting cybersecurity events. All of these are directed at improving the cybersecurity posture of your organization.

Once analyzed, the most common current practice of sharing this data is by generating reports. These reports can be used to understand the state of cybersecurity, address vulnerabilities, assess risk, identify where threats exist and even prioritize what vulnerabilities to address first. Ultimately, they are used to guide any mitigation strategies designed to improve the cybersecurity posture of your organization.

There are few trends/shifts in the cybersecurity industry that are having an impacting on how we address cybersecurity challenges:

  • Digital transformation has become a major initiative and shift in the cybersecurity industry. A lot of organizations are undergoing this transformation, and this shift is driving increased global cybersecurity focus due to the sheer amount of data. The collected data starts to mount up and get cluttered, and unless you are a security analyst it will not make much sense to you.
  • IT-OT Convergence: The need for modernization and driving more efficiencies there is a growing convergence between the IT and OT networks. This shift means additional assets that transcend both IT and OT networks which necessitates a more holistic approach to cybersecurity that covers both.
  • Changing cybersecurity stakeholders: It is no longer just the CISO, security analyst or administrator who are the key stakeholders. The CEO and board are increasingly involved and are asking for details around the organization’s cybersecurity. CISOs are expected to provide understanding as we all as actionable insights so that the executives can take actions and make decisions.

To address this continuous data and shift in the world of cybersecurity, we should consider the following:

  1. With a changing threat landscape, an ever-evolving threat surface and new threat vectors, traditional static cybersecurity methods such as spreadsheets, reports or even modular GRC tools are no longer enough or effective. This leaves decision-makers in the dark while the data becomes outdated and non-reusable. There is a need for dynamic, real-time and actionable insights.
  2. While long and detailed reports are acceptable for security analysts and administrators, CEOs and the board need simple, actionable metrics that tell a visual story of the state of cybersecurity of their company. This story should be easy to understand and to act upon. There is a need for a unified view that combines data from key cybersecurity controls, rolls it up into a single actionable dashboard and provides clear insights of their cybersecurity posture

With more and more board directors recognizing the strong correlation between cybersecurity and business health, they are making changes and investing in robust cybersecurity controls and tools. As reported by Security Boulevard, the strategic importance of cybersecurity is evident in board composition; Gartner found that at least 40% of boards now have an officer with cybersecurity expertise. They are demanding a dynamic, real-time and unified tool that provides them with critical data and visualizations for security metrics. Such security KPIs or metrics are critical for the board and executive management to make strategic decisions.

“Gartner clients are also reporting that after years of quarterly reporting on cybersecurity to their boards, that boards are now pushing back and asking for improved data and understanding of what they have achieved after years of such heavy investment.”

– Gartner The Urgency to Treat Cybersecurity as a Business Decision, 2020

Data visualization is a key requirement for such a tool. It makes the practice of understanding cybersecurity data easier and actionable. With a combination of visualization tools, analytics algorithms ( rule-based or AI/ML based ) data can be sorted and converted into metrics and values to shed light on the cybersecurity posture as well as provide actionable information. Data visualization can help your organization in many ways including detection, prediction and prevention.

So how does data get visualized and consumed?

Enter dashboards.  A dashboard is a customizable visual representation of your data. It allows you to see what is happening in your network, which helps your cybersecurity team to identify, prevent or predict cybersecurity incidents faster.

Some of the key benefits of this approach are as follows:

  1. Visualization helps you to make sense of volumes of complex data by noticing patterns, understanding contexts and not missing important information.
  2. Visualization eliminates the need to spend too much time analyzing data and reduces the risk of overlooking key information.
  3. Visualization allows the team to take quick actions. They can quickly contain a breach before it reaches its full potential and does significant harm to your business.
  4. Data visualization is highly customizable. You can filter data to be represented as needed, thus allowing the team to visualize important data in a way that makes the most sense to them.

A lot goes into detecting, preventing and predicting cybersecurity events, but dashboards are a great value-added tool and part of a toolset that helps to improve the health of networks. A dashboard, in essence, is able to identify what gaps or points of weakness exist in your defenses by providing you with data-driven metrics and insights. 

Dashboards are the future of cybersecurity. They provide you with the following perspectives:

  1. A unified view of the different cybersecurity controls in a single place, providing a quick assessment of the cybersecurity posture.
  2. Offers something for everyone, from operations personnel to executives.
  3. Presents risk in a prioritized way so that you can tackle the most important/relevant first.
  4. Different metrics and values allow you to manage risk via prevention and prediction.

To do this, however, dashboards need to have certain characteristics. They specifically need to be comprehensive and customizable as well as offer continuous information.

IT-centric businesses have advanced much further compared to their OT counterparts who are just now getting started with broader cybersecurity controls. But this counter-intuitively benefits OT by providing more options on how to interpret their data thanks to the work done in the IT side of cybersecurity.

A good cybersecurity dashboard is one designed to promote good decision making by offering actionable insights. One way it does this is by simplifying details, intricate Key risk indicators and complicated visuals to communicate the most essential information. A good dashboard can help break down the cybersecurity silos by bringing together a unified, holistic view based on data from different cybersecurity controls.

Tripwire Connect transforms SCM, FIM and VM data into meaningful insights in the form of dashboards, metrics, and reports to help you manage cyber risk across your entire organization. It provides actionable insights into the following.

  • Vulnerabilities (VM): The solution provides a dashboard view as well as details around vulnerabilities in your network along with a risk matrix that allows you to know the most critical vulnerabilities as well as which ones to prioritize first.
  • Policies (SCM): The SCM dashboard tracks an organization’s ability to maintain compliance to a resilient state. Failures in Policy should be investigated and remediated to prevent breaches and outages.
  • Changes (FIM): Change is good. When change becomes bad, you need to understand it, and you need to evaluate if the process for change needs improvement. The FIM dashboard can help you to identify unauthorized or unexpected changes.

For more information on Tripwire Connect, click here.