Regardless of their field of activity, organizations generate vast amounts of data on a daily basis. IP information, files on servers, communication records, website visitors, and emails sent are all actions that generate big data. At the same time, as networks are becoming more complex, the number of endpoints to be monitored is multiplying, and cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving. As a result, analysts tasked with detecting and remediating cybersecurity threats are inundated with data! Often, their traditional, static cybersecurity methods - such as reports - are no longer enough to protect businesses.
In this environment, analysts need a holistic view of enterprise networks, with up-to-date, actionable information, in order to sort through the data, analyze it, and assess the situation quickly to act against any threats. This is precisely what data visualization enables.
What is data visualization?
Data visualization allows you to establish connections and relationships between all the data generated within an organization. It can be, for example, when transactions take place, when partners access your network, or when biometric information is collected by connected devices.
This data is represented in the form of comparative graphs, charts, dashboards, or maps. With such easy visual elements to understand and analyze by the human brain, data visualization thus accelerates decision-making in data-driven organizations.
There are several DataViz tools, from the simplest to the most complex. According to a study published in 2022 by Forbes, the best tools are Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, and QlikSense.
The importance of DataViz tools for cybersecurity
Generated every millisecond, cyber data is voluminous and complex. Simultaneously, networks are becoming more and more extensive and the number of devices to be monitored is growing. These different factors render the process of data difficult and by extension complexify the detection and prevention of security threats.
Did you know?
- Over the past decade, data breaches in the U.S. have increased by 300% - and that is only the statistic that has been made public! 300 % aux États-Unis – et il ne s’agit là que de celles qui ont été rendues publiques !
- A cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds in the United States.
Common types of attacks include remote and cloud-based attacks, ransomware, fileless malware attacks, swarm attacks, phishing, and spoofing. Without an effective threat detection system, organizations are thus exposed to:
- Undetected or overdue alerts;
- Network vulnerabilities exploited by third parties;
- Forensic analysis that lacks clarity;
- Significant financial losses: by 2025, cybercrime is expected to cost $10.5 trillion per year worldwide.
In this context and in addition to other protection methods, it is therefore essential to turn to DataViz in order to quickly analyze and measure the potential risks to which a company is exposed.
How does data visualization help prevent cyber attacks?
- Data organization
As explained earlier, companies generate and amass large volumes of data over time. These data - just like cyber-attacks - are constantly changing! As a result, and if they are not organized in an intelligible way, it becomes very complex to analyze these pieces of information in real time. With data visualization, all important information is gathered and organized in multiple reports or files. This way, the information remains at the fingertips of the analysts, who can therefore focus on interpreting it, and the amount of time saved is considerable.
- Detecting suspicious activity
Dataviz tools are also very effective in facilitating the reading of data. The creation of comparative graphs allows, for example, to establish connections between the information, observe patterns of potentially malicious activities and highlight them.
Because data visualization simplifies the analysis of complex data, IT teams and security professionals can more easily detect patterns of suspicious and recurring activity. These threats are then flagged by automated detection systems or by experts.
- Faster decision making
Faster threat detection inevitably translates into faster decision-making. With data visualization, security professionals can react more quickly to prevent security breaches. For example, if unencrypted data from a company is shared by an employee on certain devices, DataViz tools will highlight this breach and thus limit the risks.
- Complementarity with software
Any organization that generates large volumes of data must have SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) software, better known as cybersecurity solutions to detect recurring attacks and new threats. In more complex scenarios, human intervention is required for data analysis and decision-making in the face of these threats. Data visualization makes the data more digestible and optimizes the contribution of SIEM tools.
- Information sharing
Data visualization democratizes access to data. Indeed, visualizations can be shared between analysts and integrated into internal security systems. They can also be presented to non-technical users and other company departments to explain complex information about cyber threats, as, for example, in the form of interactive and personalized dashboards. As a result, DataViz enables a more holistic approach to combating cyberattacks.
- Forensic analysis
With all the data instantly accessible and clearer connections, DataViz tools allow for almost immediate in-house forensic analysis after a cyberattack. These analyses can extract useful information to prevent further incidents or resolve system and network vulnerabilities. The conclusions of these analyses are fed back into the automatic detection systems, thus consolidating the threat management processes.
The use of data is, to say the least, vital to organizations. Infinite quantities of pieces of information will be exchanged over the years - it's inevitable. Dataviz is an ally to security analysts because it improves the human ability to sort through and interpret this data. This tool also helps recognize potentially dangerous patterns and detect missing information. By using and implementing DataViz, you’ll be able to make your company's cybersecurity threat detection system more resilient and responsive.