User and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) software is a tool that uses machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to monitor and analyze user and entity behavior in order to identify abnormal behaviors originating from users and entities within an organization. There are many different options for UEBA, including SIEM and SOAR solutions that offer it as a feature. Because of the wealth of choices available, it is important to know what to look for when deciding which one to implement. Below are some of the most important criteria to consider in your search for a UEBA solution that works for your organization.
1. Shows Normal Activity
In order to gain as much knowledge as possible from UEBA and maximize its efficacy, it is important that the software shows normal user and entity behavior, not just anomalies. Both anomalous behaviors and normal activity within a session should be accessible by the security team investigating an incident. This way, analysts can understand the broader context of the risk and how it differs from a user’s regular activity, as well as their peers’ activity.
2. Automatically Establishes Identity
It can be hard to establish the identity of a user and link it to the right account and IP address. Many administrative accounts are shared between several people, and establishing the identity of a user performing suspicious behaviors is paramount to investigating an anomaly. As this process is difficult and can take human analysts several hours, a UEBA solution that automatically establishes user identity across IP addresses and shared accounts saves time and money in the long run.
3. Analyzes Context
In order to reduce false positives, it is vital that a UEBA tool has the ability to analyze the context of anomalous behaviors to determine whether or not they constitute a threat. The response to a user downloading a particularly large file, for example, depends on whether the data in question is “a recorded all-hands meeting or a video of cat on a skateboard.” Intelligence about users, entities, accounts, and data is required in order for the software to effectively parse the information related to user and entity activity.
4. Multiple Use Cases
UEBA capabilities are often touted as a solution for the detection of insider threats, as traditional threat detection and prevention tools are largely ineffective to stop internal actors. While this is certainly one major advantage of UEBA, it is not the be-all and end-all of its abilities. When searching for the best fit for your organization’s particular needs and resources, it is recommended to consider multiple use cases and choose a solution that addresses a variety of issues including cyber threats, fraud, possible non-compliant areas, and advanced persistent threats (APTs).
5. Scores and Prioritizes Threats
An important feature of UEBA software is its ability to assign numerical scores to anomalous behaviors and rank them according to which ones pose the greatest threat. Without this, every abnormal behavior flagged by the software would be treated the same, regardless of the type of behavior or level of risk associated with it. The tool’s scoring and prioritizing of suspicious activities saves investigators a great deal of time sifting through low-risk incidents that could be spent remediating high-risk ones.
6. Quick Deployment and Effectiveness
One of the major drawbacks of UEBA is the fact that it takes some time to establish a baseline of normal behavior and start showing results. This is not completely avoidable—the tool cannot work before it has gathered any behavioral data—but it is recommended to consider the time factor when choosing a UEBA solution. It is important to find a tool that hits the right balance between speed and thoroughness of results.
7. Adaptable for Future Needs
The initial investment in UEBA, both financially and with regard to time, effort and labor, can be formidable. Fortunately, the process only needs to happen once, with the right solution in place. For this reason, it is vital to implement a UEBA solution that has the ability to adapt and change down the line according to the evolving needs of your enterprise and newly emerging threats.
8. Able to Integrate with SIEM/SOAR
There is no one-and-done solution for all cybersecurity needs, and UEBA is not an exception. It is essential that UEBA is used in combination with other security solutions and policies in order to make up a robust and layered security strategy. For a more cohesive and seamless experience, a UEBA tool should be able to integrate with security information and event management (SIEM) or security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) solutions.
There are many factors to take into consideration when searching for a UEBA solution that fits your organization’s needs. Not all enterprises will require the exact same features in a security solution, but these criteria are just a few that a UEBA solution should be able to fulfill. In order to get the most out of the tool, security teams should consider the above points when choosing which UEBA solution to implement in their organizations.
PJ Bradley is a writer on a wide variety of topics, passionate about learning and helping people above all else. Holding a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University, PJ enjoys using a lifelong desire to understand how things work to write about subjects that inspire interest. Most of PJ’s free time is spent reading and writing. PJ is also a regular writer at Bora.