From The Expert Feature Article
May 23, 2013

Repel Cyber Threats the Managed Services Way

Cyber threats are a real and growing problem. The only reason we don’t hear more about it is companies are afraid to admit they’ve been compromised, while attacks on government systems are kept secret in the interest of national security.

Unfortunately, hiding all this information leads to too much complacency. If IT doesn’t hear about attacks, it may reckon it’s safe. And securing a shop against increasingly sophisticated and frequent attacks takes time, expertise and money.

Managed services can offer the peace of mind IT deserves with few of the headaches of installing and managing defense-in-depth systems.

Waltham, Mass.-based Verdasys (News - Alert) is vying for the business of protecting networks with its newly shipping Managed Service for Cyber Defense (MSCD).

The new cloud service is based on Verdasys' Digital Guardian data protection. The twist is these features are now in the form of a fully managed hosted service. Digital Guardian has some two million software agents running in 40 different countries. 

“The new managed solution provides organizations with service-based visibility and control over human and application exploit based cyber attacks, as well as visibility and containment control over the expansion, data access, manipulation and exfiltration stages of a data targeted attack,” the company said. “MSCD is uniquely capable of detecting and preventing cyber attacks on endpoint devices on or off the enterprise network infrastructure.  Additionally, it is designed to work with a variety of next-generation firewalls, virtual and cloud-based Web malware protection systems and SIEM solutions, without costly investments in technology and staff specialists required for an on premise cyber defense solution.”

Security consultant Larry Brock knows all about the Verdasys approach. 

"Most companies want to step up their cyber attack defense, but the prospect of implementing and maintaining a kill-chain defense covering all stages of an attack is beyond their abilities, a market reality that is signaling a clear need for an effective, expert-managed cyber defense service," said Brock, president of Brock Cyber Consulting and former CISO at DuPont. “Verdasys is leveraging its expertise in cyber threat defense from a user and malware behavior perspective, together with its ability to control applications, system and data events on endpoints, whether on or outside the network.”

The Cyber Attack Problem

If you don’t think cyber attacks are a problem, you haven’t been following Congress lately. A report and hearing on the matter reveals that major U.S. utility companies have been swamped with attacks, and that overseas hackers continue trying to attack power grids themselves.

Out of some 160 utility companies queried, more than 12 encounter attacks on a constant or frequent basis.

The Gartner (News - Alert) Spin

Digital Guardian made it into Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Content-Aware Data Loss Prevention category as a leader.

“Verdasys continues to focus on IP use cases with an offering that provides strong auditing and workflow. Management console integration with Fidelis appliances provides a fully rounded set of endpoint, network and discovery capabilities. A new managed service offering increases the appeal of the solution to organizations that do not want to operate a DLP solution in-house,” Gartner said in its report.

Even as Gartner puts a company in its magic quadrant, it looks at weaknesses as well as strengths.

Here is what Gartner found to like:

        • “Verdasys has a strong capability set for supporting complex IP protection deployments.
        • Its new investigation module provides native capabilities for streamlining and supporting investigations.
        • It offers advanced logging and auditing functions, and has built-in support for EU privacy controls.
        • Its support for Linux and Apple (News - Alert) desktops is a unique capability in this market.
        • Verdasys offers strong support for virtualized environment deployments.
        • Management console support to manage Fidelis appliances creates a full-featured offering with best-of-breed components.
        • Verdasys has a managed service offering option for organizations that do not want to operate a DLP deployment,” Gartner concluded.

Not all is perfect, however. Gartner says some customers have had long waits to have issues taken care of. Upgrades can also be tricky. “Because of deep integration of Verdasys capabilities within endpoint OS and application environments, Gartner clients report that software updates and upgrades typically require more testing than with other software offerings to verify capability support and to ensure minimal impacts of changes on operations,” Gartner said.

Edited by Alisen Downey