Monitoring explained

Monitoring in InfoSec: A Comprehensive Guide

3 min read ยท Dec. 6, 2023

Introduction

In the realm of information security (InfoSec) and cybersecurity, monitoring plays a crucial role in safeguarding systems, networks, and data from potential threats. It involves the continuous observation, analysis, and recording of various activities within an organization's IT infrastructure. By monitoring these activities, security professionals can detect and respond to security incidents, identify vulnerabilities, and ensure Compliance with security policies and regulations.

What is Monitoring?

Monitoring, in the context of InfoSec, refers to the ongoing Surveillance of IT systems, networks, and data to identify and respond to potential security threats. It involves collecting and analyzing data from different sources such as logs, network traffic, system events, and user behavior. The primary goal of monitoring is to detect any anomalous or suspicious activities that may indicate a security breach or violation.

How is Monitoring Used?

Monitoring is used to track and analyze a wide range of security-related events and activities. Some common use cases include:

  1. Network Monitoring: Network monitoring involves the collection and analysis of network traffic data to identify potential security breaches, network performance issues, or suspicious activities. It helps in detecting unauthorized access attempts, Malware infections, or unusual network behavior.

  2. System Monitoring: System monitoring focuses on monitoring the health and performance of individual systems such as servers, endpoints, and databases. It helps in identifying system Vulnerabilities, resource utilization, and potential security breaches.

  3. Log Monitoring: Log monitoring involves the analysis of Log files generated by various systems and applications. It helps in identifying security incidents, tracking user activities, and detecting unauthorized access attempts.

  4. User Behavior Monitoring: User behavior monitoring tracks and analyzes user activities within an organization's IT infrastructure. It helps in detecting insider threats, unauthorized access, and unusual user behavior patterns.

  5. Application Monitoring: Application monitoring involves the continuous monitoring of software applications to ensure their availability, performance, and security. It helps in identifying application Vulnerabilities, abnormal behavior, and potential security risks.

History and Background

The practice of monitoring in InfoSec has evolved over time in response to the increasing complexity and sophistication of cyber threats. In the early days of computing, monitoring primarily focused on system performance and resource utilization. However, with the rise of networked systems and the internet, the need for security monitoring became evident.

In the 1990s, intrusion detection systems (IDS) emerged as a key component of security monitoring. IDS systems were designed to detect and respond to network-based attacks by analyzing network traffic patterns and signatures. Over time, monitoring capabilities expanded to include log analysis, user behavior analysis, and real-time threat intelligence.

Today, monitoring has become an integral part of an organization's security strategy. It is supported by advanced technologies such as Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems, log management platforms, and behavior Analytics tools. These technologies enable security teams to collect, correlate, and analyze security-related data from various sources to identify potential threats and respond effectively.

Standards and Best Practices

Several standards and best practices guide the implementation of monitoring in InfoSec. Some notable ones include:

  1. ISO/IEC 27002: This standard provides guidelines for information security management, including the monitoring of security events, incidents, and vulnerabilities.

  2. NIST SP 800-137: This document provides guidelines for continuous monitoring of information systems to ensure security, detect anomalies, and respond to incidents effectively.

  3. SANS Critical Security Controls: These controls provide a prioritized framework for effective cybersecurity, including monitoring and Incident response.

  4. MITRE ATT&CK Framework: This framework provides a comprehensive knowledge base of adversary tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), which can be leveraged for monitoring and threat detection.

Career Aspects and Relevance

Monitoring plays a critical role in the InfoSec industry, and professionals with monitoring expertise are in high demand. Some relevant job roles in this domain include Security Analyst, Incident Responder, Threat Intelligence Analyst, and Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst.

Professionals working in monitoring roles are responsible for configuring and managing monitoring tools, analyzing security events, investigating incidents, and responding to threats promptly. They must possess strong analytical skills, knowledge of security technologies, and an understanding of emerging threats and attack techniques.

With the increasing adoption of cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), the importance of monitoring is expected to grow. Organizations are investing in advanced monitoring solutions and technologies to enhance their security posture and mitigate the risks associated with evolving cyber threats.

Conclusion

Monitoring is a critical component of InfoSec and cybersecurity. It enables organizations to proactively identify and respond to security incidents, detect vulnerabilities, and ensure Compliance with security policies and regulations. By leveraging advanced technologies and following industry best practices, organizations can strengthen their security posture and protect their valuable assets from potential threats.

References:

  1. ISO/IEC 27002: https://www.iso.org/standard/54534.html
  2. NIST SP 800-137: https://csrc.nist.gov/publications/detail/sp/800-137/final
  3. SANS Critical Security Controls: https://www.sans.org/critical-security-controls/
  4. MITRE ATT&CK Framework: https://attack.mitre.org/
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