Data is indeed useful in cybersecurity. Many tools or platforms harness data in various forms including threat intelligence, security alerts, and logs from apps and devices. Some security solutions scan network activities and aggregate long-term data used to benchmark safe or regular activity, which then serves as a basis for identifying anomalous or malicious behaviour.
These are functions data fabric does as it leverages data to implement a robust security posture. It also provides a few other functions that allow it to weave an intricate mesh of protection against cyber threats.
Understanding data fabric
Also known as cybersecurity fabric, data fabric is a relatively new cybersecurity approach designed to integrate different security components to comprehensively secure IT assets against a wide spectrum of attacks and threats. It establishes a dynamic network of security tools to ensure holistic protection, veering away from the traditional strategy of using standalone and isolated security tools.
Cybersecurity fabric interconnects multiple security tools to achieve real-time security data sharing and maximize the functions of different security solutions. This cutting-edge cyber defence approach unifies the disparate security controls and defence mechanisms of organizations to respond more effectively to the evolving threat landscape.
The “data” part in “data fabric” does point to data utilization, specifically creating a cyber defence strategy that is data-centric. In the process of integrating various security technologies and components, the cybersecurity fabric collects data from different security controls. It also entails the building of data exchange mechanisms, automated incident response systems, and consolidated security platforms.
Additionally, it obtains data generated by machine learning algorithms to consolidate, correlate, and contextualize all security-related data to bolster threat detection, analysis, and response.
By doing these, data fabric affords comprehensive protection that addresses a wide spectrum of attack vectors. It adapts to changing attack tactics and techniques. It takes advantage of the combined functions of multiple tools to achieve prompt and accurate threat detection, better mitigation, and formidable prevention. It is also capable of addressing zero-day vulnerabilities and advanced persistent threats.
How does cybersecurity fabric work?
The cybersecurity fabric has multiple components that make it possible to deliver comprehensive security that simplifies the integration of various tools and enables dynamic adaptation to evolving threats. These components facilitate significant enhancements in security operations efficiency including incident response.
Rapid threat intelligence and security data integration – A crucial component of the cybersecurity fabric, the ability to agilely integrate threat intelligence ensures that an organization makes good use of the cybersecurity-relevant data it has. Threat intelligence comes from various sources, including government agencies like CISA, cybersecurity companies and institutions, and collaborative projects. Security data, on the other hand, is from the different security tools and potential attack surfaces of an organization.
Regrettably, many organizations continue to suffer from poor security visibility, which means they have IT assets they are unable to monitor or security tools with unused data. Having a data-centric cybersecurity strategy addresses this weakness and significantly improves threat detection, mitigation, remediation, and prevention outcomes.
Real-time data exchange – This is another vital feature of data fabric, which is made possible by seamlessly integrating all the security tools, solutions, and mechanisms of an organization. A properly implemented cybersecurity fabric facilitates the instantaneous movement of security data to ensure prompt threat or vulnerability detection and rapid response. There are many cases when threats are undetected because the security control that should have captured them lacked the latest threat intelligence or has no basis for distinguishing safe from potentially harmful activity.
Unified and holistic cybersecurity management – While some cybersecurity experts are making the case for decentralized cybersecurity, data fabric concentrates on centralization. This is a logical route to take, though, given the emphasis on data-centred security. To optimize security data, it is important to consolidate all available information to achieve a panoramic view of an organization’s security posture and efficiently coordinate security strategies, policies, and responses. This centralized thrust provides a broad view of an organization’s security posture to better see the issues, come up with snappier defence mechanisms, and oversee actions more clearly through a unified intuitive interface.
Automation and orchestration – Data fabric supports the implementation of automated countermeasures. As mentioned, the significantly broader security visibility that comes with data fabric allows organizations to reduce the need for manual actions by automating specific responses to attacks or threats like the isolation of compromised systems, application of software patches, and fine-tuning of security configurations. Automation does not only make it faster to respond to security incidents; it also drastically minimizes the opportunities for threat actors to succeed with their attacks.
Artificial intelligence – With massive amounts of data involved, employing machine learning algorithms or other forms of AI is a must. It is virtually impossible to adopt a data-centric cybersecurity strategy by relying on manual actions. AI expedites the process of thoroughly analyzing tons of data to establish regular or safe activity and detect anomalous behavioural patterns. Also, AI is important in automating certain actions.
Weaponizing data against evolving threats
Data fabric is cybersecurity’s way of weaponizing data to combat the growing aggressiveness and sophistication of cyber attacks. Over the past years, the already relentless and cunning threat actors have been empowered by the rise of new technologies, AI in particular.
Advanced AI technologies such as generative artificial intelligence like ChatGPT have served as tools for cybercriminals. While no high-profile AI-assisted cyber attack has been reported yet, experts are ringing the alarm over the potential of AI to aggravate cybersecurity problems. NATO itself highlighted the “massive role” artificial intelligence is playing in cyber attacks, calling it a “huge challenge.”
AI is playing a critical role in the evolution of cyber threats as it accelerates the generation of malicious software and the retooling of attacks. It is also capable of making it faster for threat actors to spot and exploit vulnerabilities. Additionally, AI technologies such as deep fakes and voice cloning equip cybercriminals with new tools to launch more convincing social engineering attacks.
All of these changes in cyber threats can be captured as data, which can help streamline defences. Security-relevant data helps simplify the complexity of existing cybersecurity systems by creating better security visibility, guiding the formulation of defensive strategies, and supporting the automation and orchestration of certain security mechanisms and responses to security incidents. Ultimately, it is instrumental in crafting sophisticated defences against sophisticated threats. It allows organizations to keep up with the rapid evolution of attacks.