RSA looks have SIEM do advanced real-time threat analysis, forensics

RSA is readying a product it calls Security Analytics whose purpose is basically to transform the company's traditional security information and event management (SIEM) product, EnVision, into a hunter of stealthy attackers, and a forensics tool to analyze attacks.

Security Analytics is being beta-tested by RSA customers, including those in the financial services industry, according to Eddie Schwartz, vice president and chief information security officer at RSA. Schwartz says SIEM traditionally has been a tool oriented toward automating and centralizing collection of security and network logs, particularly for compliance purposes, but isn't always adept in real-time incident investigations. But he says RSA has come up with a way to use its SIEM for ad hoc investigations to find out how attackers may have infiltrated a network and what they did inside.

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"It's making SIEM more relevant to the threat landscape," says Schwartz. "A lot of organizations with SIEM have been subject to these spectacular data breaches, ourselves included."

In March 2011, RSA acknowledged a serious breach in which sensitive information related to its SecurID product was stolen by attackers who had the goal of attacking RSA customers, such as Northrop Grumman. RSA's own investigations led to conclude it had been attacked by a "nation-state" it wouldn't name, while other researchers have named China with confidence.

Security Analytics is meant to be the piece that acts as a front-end to combine data from the EnVision SIEM, as well as with other sources such as the RSA NetWitness network-monitoring product, in order to combine relevant data into a single view. Security Analytics can also take make use of data provided from non-RSA products, such as those from Bit9, ThreatGrid and iDefense, among others, says Schwartz. However, one of the things that's needed for the Security Analytics process to work well is "full-packet capture," he says.

Not every customer's network is secured the same way, of course, and there's going to be variations on how Security Analytics will be set up, Schwartz says.

There is no announced time frame for Security Analytics to ship.

In addition to discussing its viewpoint on transforming SIEM and releasing a guidance paper on what's perceived as SIEM's traditional limitations, RSA also announced a range of professional services.

According to Peter Tran, senior director of the advanced cyberdefense practice at RSA, these new professional services include "breach readiness," such as preparations made prior to an incident. Other new services also include having a team from RSA use the NetWitness tool to do network discovery, and help with establishing ways to collect cyberthreat intelligence.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: @MessmerE. Email:

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

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