Achieving Greater Security Intelligence Through Architectural Assessments of QRadar

As black hat hackers amp up their game, financial institutions have to do the same. Security postures and associated infrastructures need to be in a constant state of revision if they are going to be one step ahead of emerging cyber threats. And while many businesses are already utilizing the power that QRadar has in enforcing overall security posture, too many financial organizations have a “set it and forget it” mindset when it comes to the overall monitoring and configuration of their QRadar environments. This can be a dangerous mistake.

The Ever-Changing Landscape

As advanced as QRadar is, its effectiveness is limited by how it is configured. And while an organization may have configured QRadar a year ago for a thoroughly hardened threat detection and remediation solution, threat vectors will have since changed and evolved, rendering the current QRadar infrastructure susceptible to attack.

Changing attack vector detection is especially important when it comes to the types of data QRadar is configured to analyze, detect, and report on. This directly affects the rules that are running to ensure the environment maintains compliance with security policies. For financial institutions, this is especially critical due to the data- and regulation-intense nature of the business. To help maintain the upper hand in all potential situations, we have designed an architectural review process that keeps QRadar a step ahead of cyber attackers.

The Champion Methodology

Our architectural assessment revolves around three primary functions of QRadar: data collection, data analysis and data reporting. These are the key configurations that need to be as up-to-date as possible to make sure that an organizational security posture is being properly enforced.

  • Data Collection: The ability of QRadar to collect the correct data from all appropriate sources is one of the most dynamic functions that we address. This includes reviewing the data types gathered directly from your network appliances and devices, as well as from QRadar Event Collectors and QRadar QFlow collectors. By updating the sources and types of data collected, your QRadar environment is able to more accurately parse it while ensuring that any new devices added to your environment are covered by your security policy.
  • Data Analysis: Once your data sources and types have been assessed and updated accordingly, the event data being fed into the Custom Rules Engine (CRE) will more accurately determine new rule baselines. This allows for more accurate SIEM representation and threat detection rules from which alerts can be generated, meaning that you will see an increased amount of security intelligence in terms of vulnerability scanning. An additional benefit of assessment at this level is to give insights into the storage capacities allocated to QRadar by identifying if your business needs to add data nodes (thereby needing to allocate more storage to QRadar), or to retract data nodes (allowing for the recovery of storage space), thus allowing you to align your data center requirements more accurately.
  • Data Reporting: At this point your data collection and analysis processes have been assessed and modified to align the infrastructure to your security posture. Now, we dive into what information is being presented by the reports generated in the QRadar Console. We work with organizations to make sure that they are seeing everything that they need to see in terms of vulnerability and threat detection reports, with an emphasis on the reporting of any new data sources and data types, as well as new or adjusted CRE rules.

This comprehensive approach in a QRadar architectural assessment assures those in financial organizations that they will not only adhere to their business security posture, but that they will continue to meet PCI and other regulatory compliances.

So, About That QRadar Architectural Assessment

In assessing all three layers of an organization’s Qradar environment, financial institutions will decrease overhead while vastly improving security prevention and threat mediation policies, while giving a distinct level of reporting for PCI auditing purposes. Champion has long helped clients perform periodic QRadar architectural reviews and assessments, ensuring a hardened security posture that is impenetrable to the next generation of black hat attacks.


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