Putting It All Together: The Value of Holistic Visibility

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You can’t secure what you can’t see. That saying may feel obvious, but too many managed service providers (MSPs) fail to see advanced threats as they make their way into and through their customers’ systems. This is partially because MSPs  have too many tools feeding them more information than their staff can handle, and partially because those tools are siloed off and improperly managed, preventing comprehensive information and complete understanding of what’s happening within a customer’s IT infrastructure. Without proper staffing and alignment, the telemetry provided by tooling is incomplete. For MSPs, this leads to ignored or overlooked sections of their customer’s environment, which could result in a major breach. This can cause engineers to spend countless man hours sifting through alerts that provide incomplete information, and ultimately fail to act on, or miss, potential threats within their customers’ environments.

The answer, then, is not tools aimed at specific aspects of an environment, but an approach that looks at everything, cross-references the telemetry gathered, and provides a birds-eye view. The answer is holistic visibility.

Learn more about the various sources of telemetry with “Seeing Is Securing: Holistic Visibility.

Holistic Visibility Provides Actionable Insights

Let’s imagine you have a security app on your phone that tells you if your front door is open. That’s all it does. It doesn’t tell you if someone entered your home or where the possible intruder went within your house. And, unfortunately, it alerts your phone any time that door is opened, meaning you get a ping if it’s your spouse or your children or even you. That tool is limited to the door’s actions and doesn’t help you fully understand what’s happening in your home. If you’re away on vacation and you get the alert that your door is opened, you have no way of knowing if it’s a burglar or just the wind.

That’s the problem a lot of MSPs experience when they rely on siloed tools that only detect unusual behavior in a specific part of their customers’ environments, which results in too many alerts and not enough information. This leaves the MSP with an inability to act with precision or intent. What you would need is an application that combines the door alert with security cameras in and outside the house which can digest that information and offer you a complete picture of what behavior is occurring and if it’s worthy of your attention. It could, through the additional use of human experts, discern between the neighborhood kid coming to water your plants and a robber making a beeline for your office safe at 2 am.

That’s what holistic visibility achieves. It digests and analyzes telemetry from a broad number of sources (endpoints, firewall, cloud, etc.) and then creates a thorough, precise report of what is happening and what actions are needed to contain the possible incident.

As an MSP, having as much information as possible is critical not only for the security of the organizations you manage, but for your business operations. Time spent dealing with incomplete information is time that isn’t spent scaling your business, focusing on your security, or exceeding the needs of your customers.

This approach is proactive, impactful, and removes silos to provide high-fidelity alerting, which reduces false positives by chaining alerts together and only notifying organizations if there is a fully developed detection.

Holistic visibility is not a tool but a thorough approach to cybersecurity, and it’s not just a theory — it’s made possible by Arctic Wolf®.

How Holistic Visibility Fuels Arctic Wolf

Before we dive into how Arctic Wolf utilizes holistic visibility, it should be noted that yes, holistic visibility is the foundation of extended detection and response (XDR) solutions, and it’s one of the reasons those tools have gained traction in recent years. Arctic Wolf is not an XDR tool, but the Arctic Wolf® Security Operations Cloud is built on open-XDR architecture. We’ve harnessed the technology and combined it with machine learning and human expertise to provide industry-leading telemetry, insights, and action.

Let’s look at an organization that utilizes Arctic Wolf. One of their telemetry sources, the active directory, experienced an unusual, repeated login attempt outside business hours. Instead of focusing solely on that login attempt, Arctic Wolf was able to see that another telemetry source, the network traffic, was also experiencing unusual behavior while simultaneously seeing that there’s PowerShell empire activity on the server. By correlating all of these alerts together, Arctic Wolf suspected a possible ransomware attack was forming and instantly developed a real-time high-fidelity alert for urgent investigation. Without the multiple sources of telemetry, that attack may have escalated without intervention. Instead, it was remediated in under an hour.

While that is an example of how Arctic Wolf uses holistic visibility to react to potential incidents, telemetry can also be used proactively. Arctic Wolf® Labs  leverages the trillions of events ingested and analyzed by the Security Operations Cloud every week to conduct R&D, build threat intelligence detection models, and improve Arctic Wolf solutions. For example, through this data analysis, Arctic Wolf Labs can look past initial access techniques of threat actors and instead focus on the root point of compromise (RPOC), or the methods those threat actors are using to gain access and launch attacks. This data, when broken down, allows Arctic Wolf to not only have a better understanding of threat actor behavior, but can help MSPs harden their defenses and make organization-specific decisions based on this valuable, holistic data. This data also aids Arctic Wolf® Incident Response , as highlighted by the use case above. PowerShell became a prominent pawn in remote access hijacking in 2022, so that knowledge, combined with multiple sources of telemetry helped guide the investigation.

It’s not about the individual data points so much as it is about the relationships and connections between them that allow for stronger cybersecurity that fuels organizations’ security journeys. That’s the power of holistic visibility.

Take a deep dive into holistic visibility with our webinar.

Learn more about how holistic visibility can improve your cybersecurity with our interactive tool.

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Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf provides your team with 24x7 coverage, security operations expertise, and strategically tailored security recommendations to continuously improve your overall posture.
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