IBM On Board With Big Data Security Analytics

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IBM and RSA this week unveiled big data security analytics, merging their security monitoring systems with the Hadoop software framework in a move that executives at both firms predict could create a whole new breed of intelligent information security systems. But some security analysts predict a number of hurdles ahead.

IBM, Armonk, N.Y., is merging its QRadar security information event management (SIEM) appliance with its InfoSphere BigInsights analytics platform. IBM InfoSphere BigInsights is the company's Apache Hadoop product designed to use the open-source software framework to analyze structured and unstructured data for business purposes. It was unveiled in October on its PureSystems line of servers and is based on the data warehouse appliance technology IBM acquired when it bought Netezza in 2010.

The QRadar platform will remain the dashboard for IT security analysts. IBM has added a BigInsights querying interface it calls BigSheets. Data from QRadar is fed into the analytics workbench.


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Only a limited number of companies will deploy big data security analytics, said Marc van Zadelhoff, vice president of security strategy and product management at IBM, adding that he expects early adopters to be in the "low hundreds of customers in the next couple of years." Organizations in the defense and financial industries and government agencies would be the first to merge security data and unstructured data to expand visibility.

"We're not saying SIEM is falling down; that is not our problem," Zadelhoff said. "We're seeing customer requirements changing significantly. They want the ability to add unstructured data."

A number of other security firms are making the attempt to merge SIEM system data with Hadoop implementations for deep data analysis. RSA is integrating its multiple acquisitions into a single security analytics platform. RSA and IBM have similar network analysis and visibility components and log and event management integration, said John Kindervag, principal analyst at Forrester Research. Hewlett-Packard, which has not yet unveiled a security analytics platform, is said to be working on a connector to its Vertica Hadoop engine, but Kindervag said its ArcSight SIEM platform is limited to log correlation and analysis.

NEXT: Challenges Ahead For Big Data Security Analytics

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