Solve cloud security mysteries: Crack cases with Google Chronicle and Mandiant

SADA Says | Cloud Computing Blog

By Stefan Cook | SADA Manager, Cloud Security, SecOps Practice Lead

Cyber threats are rising and evolving, but security teams are stepping up their game with new tools and capabilities. We’ve been blogging about the state of cloud security for Cybersecurity Awareness Month (Make sure to check out our previous posts on zombie accounts (part 1, part 2) and MFA and the FIDO Alliance). This week, we’re looking at Google Chronicle and Mandiant, two threat intelligence platforms that security analysts rely upon for incident management and complex threat identification. These invaluable security tools provide the strategic backbone for your organization to proactively defend your cloud environment from security-related events. In this blog post, let’s explore why these solutions are so compelling and why they outshine traditional options like Splunk in securing cloud-based businesses.

Common SIEM challenges

 Security event management and security information management

Traditional security practices rely on a SIEM (security information and event management) architecture that was born in the data center. While these systems have served us well, the speed of the cloud requires a better approach.

Current tools may be burdened by community additions, lots of data collection, and piles of logging or security data that spans a disparate set of IT tools. Commonly used reports and searching methods have provided valuable insights, but their imitations, like the ones detailed below, must be addressed to discover and protect ourselves from today’s threats. 

Data overload: The sheer volume of data generated in the cloud can overwhelm traditional architectures. Businesses operating in the cloud are faced with an influx of data from multiple sources, making it difficult to efficiently ingest, process, and analyze security data.

Lack of uniformity: In the cloud, data is stored across various platforms, often with different data formats and structures. The inability of traditional SIEM to uniformly ingest and analyze data from these sources results in information silos and a fragmented view of your organization’s security posture.

Manual correlation: Most traditional security tools rely heavily on manual intervention to correlate security events. As attack vectors increase in volume and complexity, this manual approach can lead to critical events being missed or delayed, allowing cyber threats to go undetected.

Inflexibility: Traditional SIEM solutions are often resource-intensive and complex to deploy and maintain. This can be a significant obstacle for businesses seeking agile, scalable, and cost-effective solutions in the cloud era.

Lack of cloud context: Traditional SIEM solutions often struggle to detect cloud misconfigurations and threats, as these risks often differ from the risks that on-premises environments have faced for the past 10+ years.

The advantages of Google Chronicle and Mandiant

Security information and event management, SIEM systems

Google Chronicle and Mandiant address the shortcomings of traditional cloud security options and provide an array of advantages that are pivotal for businesses operating in the cloud. Let’s take a closer look.

What is Google Chronicle?

Google Chronicle is a powerful cybersecurity platform that stands as a stalwart guardian against the evolving landscape of digital threats. Chronicle harnesses the power of Google’s infrastructure and expertise, enabling it to process vast amounts of security data at unprecedented speeds. This immense data-crunching capability empowers security teams to quickly detect and respond to potential threats, minimizing the window of vulnerability.

Google Chronicle acts as a platform for security analysts to write and utilize detection rules. Chronicle ingests contextual data from different sources, performs analysis on the ingested data, and provides additional context about artifacts in your environment . The platform’s extensible interface helps ensure that both seasoned cybersecurity professionals and those who are new to security incident response can extract actionable insights from data, facilitating a more proactive approach to cybersecurity.

What does Google Chronicle SIEM do?

Chronicle SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) is a next-generation, cloud-based platform that empowers organizations to detect, investigate, and neutralize threats effectively. Chronicle SIEM analyzes massive volumes of data in real time, offering limitless scalability. This significantly reduces threat response times while enhancing an organization’s ability to understand and mitigate complex security challenges. The platform integrates seamlessly with existing security tools and data sources, providing a unified view of security posture alongside robust threat detection and analysis.

Powered by Google’s advanced artificial intelligence, Chronicle SIEM enables organizations to scale dynamically while managing data and threat complexity. The system offers predictive analytics, anomaly detection, and automated response capabilities, crucial for defending against sophisticated cyberattacks and protecting sensitive information. Google Chronicle SIEM also prioritizes user privacy and compliance, helping organizations meet regulatory requirements and responsibly manage their data. This comprehensive solution addresses the multifaceted needs of modern cybersecurity.

Google Chronicle data collection

Google Chronicle revolutionizes security operations with a modern approach to detecting, investigating, and responding to cyberthreats. At its core, Chronicle leverages Google’s infrastructure to deliver SIEM capabilities with unparalleled speed and scale. The platform ingests massive amounts of security telemetry into a private container with a one-year retention period. This data is then aggregated, normalized, enriched with threat intelligence, and analyzed comprehensively for swift threat detection and response.

Chronicle’s suite for the modern Security Operations Center (SOC) offers tightly integrated solutions designed to eliminate blind spots and streamline threat detection, investigation, and hunting. It combines advanced detection engines with an intuitive analyst workbench, facilitating rapid threat searching. The platform’s extensive customization and integration options allow users to tailor it to their unique environments. High-performance APIs enable seamless integration of Chronicle’s functionality into existing IT tools, providing a unified view of security telemetry across Google Cloud products.

Google Chronicle data analysis

Google Chronicle’s approach to data analysis within security operations prioritizes seamless integration and analysis of massive security telemetry. Leveraging Google’s infrastructure, Chronicle ingests, normalizes, and analyzes petabytes of data, providing a comprehensive, long-term view of security events and threats. This empowers security teams to correlate vast amounts of telemetry with an advanced detection engine, continuously updated by Google researchers with new rules and threat indicators. Chronicle further enhances detection with predefined rules mapped to specific threats, suspicious activities, and frameworks like MITRE ATT&CK, ensuring relevant threats are escalated with accurate risk scoring.

Chronicle excels in in-depth investigations and threat hunting. Its intuitive analyst workbench enables sub-second search speeds—vastly outperforming traditional SOC tools. Investigations are supported by prevalence visualization, real-time responsive UIs, and curated investigation views enriched with VirusTotal and third-party threat intelligence sources. Chronicle’s open platform allows customization and integration, enabling organizations to tailor their detection and investigation processes atop its robust infrastructure. This adaptability ensures SOCs can quickly respond to evolving threats and unique security requirements with precision and speed.

Google Chronicle capabilities

Ingest data into a standard format: Google Chronicle excels in ingesting data from a wide range of sources and normalizing it into a common format. This unified data structure allows for easy application of a number of detection rules across all log sources.

Automated event correlations: Google Chronicle takes a proactive approach to security by automating event correlations. By leveraging machine learning and advanced analytics, Chronicle identifies and prioritizes threats, helping your organization focus your resources on addressing the most critical issues.

Uniform data search: Google Chronicle’s ability to uniformly search across all data sources is invaluable in a cloud environment. This feature allows your security team to quickly access the information you need to investigate incidents and make informed decisions.

Google Chronicle Security Operations

With Google Chronicle Security Operations, security teams gain the tools and insights to proactively defend against even the most complex cyber threats. Within Google Cloud’s security ecosystem, Chronicle provides a comprehensive suite of tools and infrastructure. Security professionals can easily pinpoint, visualize, analyze, and resolve security issues across hybrid cloud environments.

Chronicle leverages Google Cloud’s unmatched scalability and processing power to collect and analyze security data in real time. This streamlines threat discovery and empowers security teams with efficient incident response mechanisms. By handling massive volumes of data, Chronicle Security Operations elevates security professionals beyond traditional methods, enabling a more strategic and intelligence-driven approach.

In essence, Chronicle Security Operations equips organizations with the agility to swiftly respond to immediate threats while maintaining a robust defense strategy.

How to use Google Chronicle SIEM for threat detection

Google Chronicle SIEM empowers organizations with a data-driven approach to threat detection, providing a 360-degree view of their security environment. It seamlessly integrates logs, network data, and cloud metrics, allowing organizations to analyze them for potential vulnerabilities and existing threats. Chronicle’s flexible configuration ensures that no activity within an organization’s digital footprint goes unmonitored.

This comprehensive data collection lays the foundation for Chronicle’s advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities. Security teams can create custom detection rules tailored to their specific needs, flagging unusual activity and potential threats.

Once alerts are generated, Google Chronicle SIEM provides robust investigative tools. Security teams can thoroughly examine each alert, quickly analyzing incident severity and potential impact. This proactive and granular approach facilitates rapid risk identification, improving response times, and ultimately strengthening an organization’s overall security posture. Google Chronicle becomes an invaluable partner for organizations seeking to elevate their defenses against increasingly complex and evolving security risks.

Threat intelligence features in Google Chronicle SIEM

Google Chronicle SIEM delivers powerful threat intelligence capabilities, significantly bolstering an organization’s security posture. It harnesses Google’s vast security research, real-time intelligence, and global sensor network to provide unparalleled insights into emerging threats. Chronicle continuously cross-references these insights with an organization’s internal data, automatically identifying known threat indicators. This comprehensive integration facilitates early detection of cyberthreats and enhances security operations responsiveness. Organizations gain the ability to proactively address potential breaches, making Chronicle SIEM a crucial asset in modern cybersecurity.

Moreover, Chronicle SIEM offers robust tools for customizing threat intelligence. Recognizing that each organization faces unique challenges, the platform allows security teams to input their own intelligence and feeds directly into the system. This ensures the threat detection engine aligns precisely with the organization’s needs and risk profile, shifting security operations from a reactive stance to a proactive one attuned to specific vulnerabilities. These advanced features empower security teams to build stronger defenses, proactively adapting to the complex demands of digital asset protection.

Strategies for improving your security infrastructure with Google Chronicle SIEM

To fully realize the potential of Google Chronicle SIEM, organizations must strategically integrate all relevant data streams, including network logs and cloud metrics, into the system. This comprehensive approach provides a complete picture of the security landscape, enabling efficient threat detection and mitigation. Additionally, as the digital ecosystem evolves, organizations must proactively update their detection algorithms and analytic models to match the pace of the dynamic cyberthreat environment.

Beyond technical integration, regular training and simulation exercises for security teams are crucial. This enhances understanding of Chronicle SIEM’s functionality and incident response capabilities. By leveraging Chronicle’s collaboration features, security teams can improve communication and provide decision-makers with the insights they need. This strategic approach empowers organizations to proactively strengthen their security posture, making Chronicle SIEM an indispensable component of their security infrastructure.

Strategic implementation of Google Chronicle SIEM fosters a culture of continuous improvement and foresight within security teams. By regularly refining security protocols and customizing intelligence feeds, organizations can fine-tune their threat detection and response strategies, adapting to the sophistication of modern cyberthreats. Chronicle’s collaboration features streamline communication, enabling rapid and effective threat resolution. This creates an agile and scalable defense, paving the way for a resilient security infrastructure.

With Google Chronicle SIEM, organizations can confidently embrace the challenges of the digital age, knowing that their growing digital investments are secure. They gain the tools and insights to stay ahead of an ever-evolving threat landscape.

What is Mandiant? 

Mandiant is a cybersecurity platform that plays a pivotal role in defending organizations against cyber threats. This comprehensive solution excels at threat detection, response, and prevention. Mandiant leverages advanced analytics, threat intelligence, and machine learning to meticulously scan and monitor an organization’s digital infrastructure. Its interface and tools empower security teams to easily spot anomalies and potential vulnerabilities, ensuring a rapid response when an incident occurs.

What sets Mandiant apart is its real-time threat intelligence, which provides invaluable insights into emerging threats and vulnerabilities. This enables organizations to stay one step ahead of cyber adversaries, fortify their defenses, and minimize the impact of potential attacks. In essence, Mandiant serves as a guardian of digital assets, embodying the synergy of future-proof technology and user-friendly design to protect against the ever-present dangers of the digital realm.

Additionally, Mandiant has a tool called Breach Analytics for Chronicle that integrates natively into the Chronicle interface. Mandiant Breach Analytics for Chronicle helps your organization detect and respond to breaches faster by automating the search for indicators of compromise (IOCs) using Mandiant Intel Grid™, a trove of threat intelligence.

Mandiant capabilities

Advanced threat detection: Mandiant is renowned for its advanced threat detection capabilities. It provides real-time threat intelligence, helping organizations stay ahead of evolving cyber threats.

Rapid incident response: In the event of a security breach, Mandiant’s incident response capabilities enable organizations to swiftly identify and contain threats, minimizing damage and downtime.

Threat hunting: Mandiant offers a proactive approach to security by empowering organizations to hunt for potential threats within their environment, helping to identify vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

Breach analytics: Mandiant’s breach analytics capabilities provide your security team with detailed reporting on attack vectors, which allows you to better strategize and prioritize resources to respond to similar attacks in the future. Breach Analytics works natively within Chronicle to offer industry leading threat intelligence that can supercharge your detection rules.

The synergy of SIEM/SOAR

SIEM tools, Siem solutions, security information and event management

SIEM and SOAR (security orchestration, automation, and response) are integral components of a modern cybersecurity strategy. Chronicle brings these two elements together to create a comprehensive security solution. 

Comprehensive data management: Chronicle’s SIEM component enables the collection, normalization, and correlation of security data. This streamlined data management ensures that organizations are well-equipped to identify and respond to threats effectively.

Automated incident response: The SOAR component automates incident response procedures, enabling organizations to respond rapidly to threats. Automated playbooks can be tailored to specific threat scenarios, reducing response times and minimizing the impact of security incidents.

SIEM alerts are the gift that keeps on giving, as they can be ingested into repeatable playbooks, meaning that the process of identifying one threat becomes part of the system’s knowledge base. Remember, SIEM systems collect data which will help your system identify security threats in the future. Any created SIEM alert can easily be leveraged by a SOAR playbook, allowing for rapid time-to-value for any newly created rules.

A hypothetical use case

To illustrate the benefits of Chronicle and Mandiant in a real-world scenario, let’s consider a hypothetical business called SpookyCloud Inc. It’s a medium-sized organization that operates in the cloud, providing software as a service (SaaS) to its customers. SpookyCloud Inc. recognizes the importance of robust cloud security to protect sensitive customer data and its reputation.

Challenges faced by SpookyCloud Inc. with their traditional SIEM systems

Security information and event management, security operations, security alerts

For all that SpookyCloud Inc. has going for it, security is a major challenge, for the following reasons:

Data overload: SpookyCloud Inc. generates a massive amount of log data from various cloud platforms, servers, and applications. Their current tool struggles to ingest and manage this data efficiently, leading to delays in threat detection and incident response.

Data fragmentation: The company uses multiple cloud providers and services, each with its own data format. The tool’s inability to uniformly handle this data results in data fragmentation and missed security events.

Manual correlation: The security team at SpookyCloud Inc. is overwhelmed by the volume of security alerts generated by their traditional tooling. Manual correlation and analysis are time-consuming, making it challenging to respond to threats in a timely manner.

How Chronicle and Mandiant transform SpookyCloud Inc.’s security strategy

Security teams discuss security operations, security orchestration, & security event management

Thankfully, SpookyCloud recently implemented Chronicle and Mandiant to cover its IT stack as the bedrock of its security strategy. Here’s what they get from using these solutions: 

Efficient data management: Chronicle ingests data from all of SpookyCloud Inc.’s sources, normalizes it into a standard format, and stores it in a central repository. This unified data management provides a holistic view of the company’s security environment.

Automated threat detection: Chronicle’s automated event correlation identifies patterns and anomalies, enabling the security team to focus on critical security events. This proactive approach ensures that potential threats are addressed promptly.

Unified data search: SpookyCloud Inc.’s security team can now search uniformly across all data sources, thanks to Chronicle’s UDM Model providing them with quick access to the information they need for incident investigation.

Mandiant’s expertise: With Mandiant’s threat detection and incident response capabilities, SpookyCloud Inc. gains a new level of protection. Real-time threat intelligence and incident response playbooks help the organization stay ahead of emerging threats and respond rapidly when incidents occur. Integrating Breach Analytics into Chronicle allows them to get industry-leading insight into incident information obtained by Mandiant Threat Researchers.

In this scenario, SpookyCloud Inc. enhances its security posture by adopting Chronicle SIEM/SOAR and Mandiant. The organization benefits from a proactive and streamlined security strategy that can adapt to the dynamic nature of cloud environments, ultimately safeguarding its sensitive data and reputation. 

Moving to Google Chronicle and Mandiant

Traditional solutions are no longer sufficient to protect modern businesses operating in the cloud. Google Chronicle and Mandiant offer a comprehensive, proactive, and streamlined approach to security, addressing the challenges that cloud-based organizations face. These solutions provide unified data management, automated threat detection, and efficient incident response, making them the cornerstone of an up-to-date security strategy for any business looking to safeguard its cloud operations.

As the cloud continues to evolve, the need for advanced security solutions will only increase. Chronicle and Mandiant are well-positioned to meet the demands of your organization, helping you stay one step ahead of cyber threats and ensuring the security and continuity of your operations in the cloud. It’s an excellent time for businesses to embrace these innovative solutions and make cloud security a top priority in their digital transformation journeys.

Google Chronicle + Mandiant implemented by SADA

SADA SecOps Google Cloud Delivery Partner, security orchestration, security event management

SADA’s Security teams have spearheaded numerous successful deployments of Google Chronicle and Mandiant, for organizations across numerous industries, and in the process we’ve built up a rich knowledge base of best practices. As one of only two organizations worldwide to receive Google’s endorsement for SecOps Service Delivery Expertise, SADA is positioned to pass along our deep industry knowledge to any business seeking to fortify their systems in the cloud. .

John Quisenberry, Senior Manager of Information Security at apree health, worked with SADA to implement a comprehensive security strategy for his organization. Says Quisenberry, “You get to work with SADA, who knows different hardening strategies to make sure you’re doing it right. In the end, you gain a tremendous amount of confidence in your security that allows you to go to bed at night.”

For more insight into how SADA facilitated a successful adoption of Google Chronicle specifically, be sure to read our customer story of how Castlight Health successfully fortified and simplified their security.

When you’re ready to take the next step to modernize your security structure, be sure to reach out and schedule a cloud security confidence assessment with SADA security experts. It’s never too late to start strengthening your cloud security posture.

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