Surveillance: the bedrock of cybersecurity observability

In the realm of cybersecurity, the concepts of surveillance and observability serve as crucial tools in the defense and understanding of complex systems.

Fanch Francis
June 15, 2023
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In the realm of cybersecurity, the concepts of surveillance and observability serve as crucial tools in the defense and understanding of complex systems. These elements of cybersecurity have unique implications and applications, yet they interconnect in ways that underline the foundation of surveillance in facilitating observability.

Surveillance, in a cybersecurity context, typically refers to the systematic process of continuously monitoring and analyzing network traffic, system activities, or user behaviors to identify and respond to potential security threats or violations. It is often associated with tools such as a Network Detection & Response (NDR), firewalls, and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems.

Surveillance is fundamentally geared towards recognizing and addressing malicious activities, such as hacking attempts, malware intrusions, unauthorized access, data breaches, and more. It implies a defensive posture where potential threats are under constant watch, thus enabling swift detection and effective response.

Observability relates to how well the internal states or performance of a system can be comprehended based on the system's external outputs like logs, metrics, and traces.

An observable system empowers security teams to promptly and accurately diagnose security issues, including system vulnerabilities or performance bottlenecks that might be exploited by cyberattackers.

The concept of observability extends to facilitating incident response and recovery by providing detailed information about the system's state before, during, and after a security event. It is not solely about monitoring for threats but aims to provide a deeper understanding of the system's normal and abnormal behaviors, which, in the long run, can improve security posture and resilience.

One might ask, "What's the relationship between these two aspects of cybersecurity?"

The answer lies in recognizing that surveillance serves as the foundation for observability in cybersecurity. Without the preliminary detection and response capabilities offered by surveillance, the endeavor to achieve observability would be significantly impeded.

The systems and tools used for surveillance provide the first line of defense against potential threats, alerting security teams to unusual or malicious activities within the network. This detection then forms the basis for the deep-dive analysis facilitated by observability tools.

Surveillance mechanisms essentially generate the primary data that feed into observability tools. By signaling unusual patterns or potential threats, surveillance lays the groundwork for more in-depth system inspection. Security teams can then use this data to delve deeper, deploying observability tools to analyze the flagged anomalies, uncover underlying issues, and gain a comprehensive understanding of system behavior.

Observability thrives on the raw data and initial insights provided by surveillance, allowing it to dissect normal and abnormal system behaviors and responses. Through observability, cybersecurity professionals can identify system weaknesses or vulnerabilities and implement necessary measures to enhance system security.

The symbiotic relationship between surveillance and observability is a testament to the necessity of a holistic cybersecurity strategy that effectively integrates both aspects.

Surveillance provides the crucial first step in the detection and mitigation of potential threats, while observability ensures a thorough understanding of system behavior and performance, contributing to long-term system resilience.

As such, it becomes evident that surveillance is the bedrock upon which observability is built. The initial detection of potential threats enables the more in-depth exploration and understanding facilitated by observability tools.

As cybersecurity professionals, our task is to remain vigilant in our surveillance efforts and strive to improve system observability. That's what we do at NANO Corp, we provide network-based surveillance for infrastructure observability.

Want to know more? Reach out.

Fanch Francis
June 15, 2023
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