By Ranjan Goel, Vice President, Product Management, LogicMonitor
IT teams are under immense pressure to work faster than ever and deliver better results—at less cost. And they’re struggling to do it all as their organizations take in rapidly soaring volumes of data that must be captured, analyzed and deployed to improve business outcomes.
To meet the challenge, many IT teams are turning to Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations, or AIOps, which uses big data and machine learning to enhance primary IT functions like identifying, troubleshooting and resolving availability and performance issues.
Just as important, AIOps secures business infrastructure and applications by automatically blocking bad actors in near real-time. Let’s say, for example, that a hacker is trying to access a database server. AIOps can identify the intrusion by detecting either a change in the volume of data or a change in the location of the user who is trying to access the database server.
AIOps features will then classify this attempted access as normal access, insecure access or elevated security risk. Once this is done, the information is handed over to an automated system that will block the IP address or compromised user ID and quarantine to a sandbox for a security expert to analyze further.
In short, AIOps has the great potential to do double duty. IT and security teams can both deploy AIOps not only to enhance their organization’s infrastructure performance but also to prevent cybersecurity threats in near real-time.
An essential early warning system
The early warning system that AIOps provides is a big step forward for security vendors as they try to ingest as many signals as possible and understand what’s going on in the IT environment with a 360-degree perspective. Such vigilance is vital nowadays because hackers are constantly looking for scenarios in which they can sneak in without tripping any alarms, then prowl around in the IT environment.
For example, in a recent high-profile hack, the bad guys were lurking undetected in Office 365 email systems for months, creeping around and gathering information. This type of breach shows that, without the proper signals from the enterprise architecture, hackers can go undetected for long periods of time and ultimately do serious damage.
In a world of perfect security, IT teams would have no blind spots and hackers would never gain access to IT systems. The problem is that today’s hybrid infrastructures typically hold resources in a blend of cloud and on-premises datacenters—and most security products specialize in monitoring one or the other. As a result, there is no single IT or security team that has insight across all of the different systems.
AIOps early warning technology detects the symptoms that precede security issues, such as suspicious patterns and anomalies in performance data, then alerts users. The technology then triggers actions to root out the bad guys and prevent damage. By warning users sooner, AIOps helps enterprises stop intruders, protect their data and avoid negative impacts on their brand and bottom line.
Many AIOps advantages
There are other reasons why AIOps is now a must-have for security. One is financial. A typical organization generates billions of data points in any given day and few organizations can afford to keep dispatching security people to investigate the numerous problematic signals that occur. There are just too many of them. But with a technology like AIOps on the job to constantly process signals and put them in context—i.e., dangerous or not—the process becomes financially manageable.
What is the server behind a particular IP address attempting access? Who is the user? Are there false positives or duplicate signals? All of this analysis and investigation can be done by AIOps technology in a consistent and automated way so that security professionals can spend their time on other, more pressing issues.
Yes, many organizations are still trying to prevent security incidents manually. But the stark reality is that such an approach is not scalable and typically results in SecOps people spending their day reacting to issues and trying to minimize incidents. But with AIOps, they have technology that warns them before issues occur and enables them to prevent problems rather than react to them. Instead, they can focus on more strategic initiatives that provide value to their organizations. It’s a win-win scenario with less time spent troubleshooting and more spent time innovating.
Indeed, AIOps is now a necessity for almost every kind of organization, because every kind of organization, large or small, is now a target for hackers.
The road ahead
Many vendors are now touting their AIOps chops—even if they offer only very basic functionality. So, separating fact from fiction is critical. CISOs should start with a sandbox approach, setting up two or three trials of any technology they’re considering – including AIOps – to see if it works for them before purchasing it and pushing it out.
As the technology improves, AIOps will only get more proficient at observing signals across all enterprise systems to illuminate patterns, provide meaningful alerts, detect issues sooner, and enable greater foresight and automation. As today’s organizations continue to grow and evolve, the ability to provide predictive insights at scale continues to be more important than ever.
About the Author
Ranjan Goel is a highly experienced product management executive with a track record of building and launching products in multiple technology areas including unified observability, cybersecurity, cloud and networking. He has managed portfolios of up to a billion dollars in revenue. Ranjan currently leads the product management organization at LogicMonitor.
Ranjan can be reached online at our company website https://www.logicmonitor.com/.