Resilient Systems arms security teams with automated incident responses

Resilient systems has a new software module for its incident-response platform that lets network security pros respond quicker and with more certainty to attacks.

Called Action Module, it makes it possible to have automated responses at the ready so when actual incidents arise network admins can push a button to respond.

Because responses execute automatically when triggered, slow manual steps are taken out of the equation, making responses timelier and eliminating human error that might otherwise come into play.

"The upside is speed and effectiveness," says Bruce Schneier, CTO of Resilient, "getting it fast and getting it right -- no making mistakes. We're talking about plumbing, but it's really needed plumbing."

While it automates aspects of responses, it keeps people in the mix making decisions, something corporate customers want in order to maintain control.

This type of response is necessary to minimize the impact attacks have on corporations' doing business. "Attacks happen anywhere, anytime and make a big difference to the business," says Resilient CEO John Bruce. "The job is to prevail in the face of it."

Action Module is an add-on to the company's main product called Incident Response Platform that supplies corporate networks with workflows, called run books, for security staff to follow in order to perform the appropriate response technologically and legally.

So these workflows supplied by Resilient are built around industry best practices for responding to incursions as well as worldwide legal mandates for reporting them. Resilient is constantly updating both these bodies of knowledge so customers are responding to the current environment. For example, the company had researched new reporting regulations that were about to go into effect in Guam and they were queued up to go live the day they took effect.

Since many major customers have their own run books for incident response the Resilient platform can be customized to meet those standards. Whether customers use canned workflows or create their own, being prepared is the objective, Schneier says. "You need to know beforehand what you want to do, and set up the system pre-incident."

The platform creates an audit trail of what actions are taken in response to incidents so businesses can demonstrate to regulators or courts what steps they took and that they were in accordance with best practices.

Action Module has hooks into other network platforms so scripts can be written for them to carry out remediation. For instance, if a policy says that when a machine shows signs of infection and malicious behavior its network access should be shut off, Action Module could direct Active Directory to revoke privileges, Schneier says.

The module can gather intelligence about incidents from other platforms on the network, gather forensics about affected machines, tap threat feeds to help identify the nature of attacks and perhaps indicate who is behind them.

Incident Response Platform is a hub from which businesses can coordinate and track how security teams react to malicious events, says John Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group.

The run books list tasks that need to be done -- call the FBI, alert the corporate legal team, re-image affected machines, etc. -- records who has been assigned each task, alerts them, sets deadlines and tracks progress toward accomplishing each goal. It sends reminders of looming deadlines and alerts when they are missed. "It's a real-time crisis coordination system," Schneier says.

Incident Response Platform connects with existing network security systems such as SIEMs and uses that information in concert with a dozen intelligence feeds that supply data about known attacks and indicators of compromise. That knowledge is used to define what's happening during an attack and to map out the response. With Action Module, security teams can execute mitigation from the same platform.

Action Module is available now.

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