Blue Coat Acquisition Bolsters Security Intelligence

Mike Vizard

For years now, Blue Coat Systems has provided appliances for securing Web applications. This week, the company took a major step toward helping IT organizations become more proactive about IT security by acquiring Solera Networks, a provider of Big Data security analytics software focused on security intelligence.

According to Blue Coat president and COO David Murphy, in the age of mobility, security needs to become a lot more agile. Solera developed a security intelligence application that can apply analytics to a complicated series of system events to identify the original source of a security breach. That acquisition comes on the heels of a previous move to acquire an SSL appliance product line that was originally developed by Netronome.

Modern attacks frequently arrive in a very knowledgeable and targeted way because some piece of malware has been passively monitoring systems for months. It then relays all the data it has collected back to hackers that developed the malware, which then use that information to launch attacks that are specifically designed to exploit a vulnerability that the attackers already know exists.

Solera Networks provides the capability to first record all those events and then identify the specific exploit that was used to breach the system. As Blue Coat collects more of that information, Murphy says the company will make that security intelligence available via its on-demand Web security service. In addition, Blue Coat this week made available a series of reference architectures for applying security polices in specific scenarios.

Security vendors across the board are racing to provide intelligence on attacks before they are launched in the expectation that IT organizations will be able to use that information to remediate vulnerabilities before they are exploited.

While there is still a fair amount of work to be done in terms of linking security intelligence tools with the IT systems management tools that would automate that process, it’s becoming clearer that the next big thing in security will be the ability to leverage Big Data analytics across massive amounts of machine data to identify not only vulnerabilities, but also attacks before they are actually launched. As the saying goes, to be forewarned is to be forearmed, which in the case of IT security will come down to identifying and eliminating vulnerabilities before any hacker can effectively exploit them.



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