Telco operators' fresh approach to cybersecurity


The evolution of network architecture in 5G — transitioning toward containerized architectures on commodity hardware or cloud infrastructure — marks a significant shift from traditional, isolated telecom frameworks to a more IT-centric world. This change introduces a new level of complexity and an array of cybersecurity threats. 

With 5G networks, the reliance on open, standardized IT technologies and cloud-native approaches like containerization heightens the risks of cyber attacks, as these systems often have broader exposure to known and 0 day threats. The integration of AI and IoT within this new architecture further amplifies the security challenges and puts pressure on having robust and advanced security measures for telecom operators. These changes require a strategic overhaul of cybersecurity practices to protect critical infrastructure and sensitive data in an increasingly interconnected and IT-oriented telecom environment.

Elastic Security: A unified and modern solution

Elastic Security's robust suite of features, including SIEM threat detection, endpoint prevention and response, vulnerability management, and cloud security posture management (CSPM), provides a comprehensive security solution for the complex needs of modern telecom networks. 

Elastic Security integrates with MITRE ATT&CK® framework

Elastic Security for SIEM is designed to enhance organizational security. It integrates and analyzes data from various sources, providing real-time insights into potential security threats. This system offers advanced analytics and visualization tools, empowers security teams with greater visibility, and enables them to detect and investigate anomalies. Elastic®'s SIEM is highly scalable and customizable, allowing it to adapt to the specific needs of different organizations. Furthermore, its user-friendly interface and automated alert system help in efficient threat detection and response.

Endpoint protection for diverse operating systems: Elastic Security's endpoint protection extends across various operating systems, including Linux, macOS, and Windows. This is critical for telecom operators, particularly with the increasing adoption of Linux-based systems in modern network architectures. It provides deep insight into endpoint devices through session viewer and event analyzer. 

Vulnerability management: Elastic's vulnerability management facilitates the proactive identification and mitigation of vulnerabilities within an organization's systems and software. This systematic approach is crucial in telecom networks where new technologies and architectures introduce new vulnerabilities.

Cloud security posture management (CSPM): Elastic's CSPM feature helps in evaluating cloud services and resources against security best practices. For telecom operators utilizing cloud technologies, CSPM is vital in assessing and securing cloud-based assets, like storage and compute resources. It assists in identifying and remediating risks, such as publicly exposed storage buckets or overly permissive networking objects, which are critical in maintaining the security integrity of cloud-based telecom infrastructures.

Elastic Security's comprehensive capabilities, including its cloud-native features, provide telecom operators with the tools necessary to safeguard their evolving networks against a wide range of cybersecurity threats.

Generative AI and Elastic AI Assistant for Security

The Elastic AI Assistant, a feature of Elastic Security, leverages generative AI to significantly enhance cybersecurity operations. It provides an interactive natural language chat interface for various tasks like alert investigation, incident response, and query generation or conversion. This tool is designed to streamline the workflow, offering a tailored experience to meet the specific needs of business, operational, and security teams.

Key features and benefits of the Elastic AI Assistant include:

Smart dialogues for enhanced analysis: The AI Assistant enhances analytical processes with intelligent dialogues, adapting to the users' needs and feedback to improve its capabilities over time. It's important for users to provide detailed context to ensure more accurate and tailored responses from the AI Assistant.

Integration with third-party AI providers: The AI Assistant connects with third-party AI providers using generative AI connectors such as OpenAI, Azure, AWS Bedrock, and more in the future, expanding its range of capabilities and knowledge base combined with RAG (Retrieval Augmented Generation). This feature allows the AI Assistant to generate outputs that are accurate, relevant, and specific to the business.

Customization and contextual adaptation: Users can customize the AI Assistant's responses by selecting system prompts at the beginning of a conversation and using quick prompts for specific tasks like summarizing alerts or converting queries. This customization ensures that the AI Assistant's responses are contextually appropriate and aligned with the user's specific requirements.

Query translation and knowledge base: The AI Assistant can translate queries into specific query languages like the Elasticsearch Query Language (ES|QL), making it easier for users to interact with Elastic Security without deep technical expertise. The knowledge base feature provides specialized knowledge, enhancing the AI Assistant's ability to assist with complex queries and security tasks.

The Elastic AI Assistant is a valuable tool for cybersecurity teams, offering advanced AI-powered capabilities to improve efficiency, enhance problem-solving, and provide tailored support for security operations. IDC recently published a report validating the impact and opportunities that the AI Assistant creates for security teams.

Elastic’s tiered architecture in security use cases

Elastic's hot-warm-cold-frozen architecture is a sophisticated data management strategy designed to optimize both cost and performance throughout the data lifecycle. This multi-tier approach categorizes data based on its age and access frequency, enabling efficient resource allocation:

  • Hot tier is equipped with fast hardware to handle the most recent and frequently accessed data. It's essential for time-sensitive operations, such as real-time security monitoring, where immediate access to the latest data is crucial. 

  • In the warm tier, data is accessed less frequently. It might include information that's a few weeks or months old but still relevant for ongoing analysis. The warm tier uses less powerful hardware, balancing cost and access speed. 

  • Cold tier stores data that's infrequently updated or accessed moves to the cold tier. This tier is about cost-saving; the hardware is less expensive, and data compression techniques are employed to minimize storage space. 

  • Finally, the frozen tier hosts data that's rarely accessed and marks the end of its lifecycle. It's most suitable for historical records that are seldom queried but need to be retained for compliance or long-term analysis.

Cold and frozen storage tiers use searchable snapshots to offer a cost-efficient way to access less frequently used data. They eliminate the need for replica shards, reducing storage requirements and enhancing storage efficiency. Managed through Elasticsearch®'s Index Lifecycle Management, these snapshots automate the transition of regular indices into searchable ones during cold or frozen phases, easing data lifecycle management. They balance cost and performance, optimizing data retrieval while ensuring fast query speeds. This architecture is especially beneficial for large data management, significantly cutting storage and operational costs.

In security use cases, tiered architecture proves invaluable. It allows for efficient storage and quick retrieval of recent data critical for threat detection, while older data that’s less critical for immediate security concerns but still valuable for long-term analysis is stored more economically.

Serverless architecture

Elastic's recent adoption of a serverless architecture marks a notable advancement, offering enhanced cost-effectiveness. This strategic shift underscores a commitment to innovation, streamlining operations while optimizing expenses. By embracing serverless solutions, Elastic aligns with modern technological trends, delivering greater efficiency and value. This change not only simplifies infrastructure management but also reflects a forward-thinking approach in cloud computing. Ultimately, Elastic's move to a serverless framework is a significant step toward more economical and agile data management.

Some of the serverless architecture’s key concepts include:

Decoupling of compute and storage: By separating compute and storage, the serverless architecture offers greater flexibility and efficiency in resource utilization. This decoupling allows for more scalable and cost-effective data storage solutions.

Reduction in operational complexity: The serverless model simplifies operational responsibilities, reducing the need for active management of clusters and data tiers. This leads to significant savings in both time and operational costs.

Optimized storage through object stores: The use of inexpensive object storage in the serverless architecture reduces storage costs. It leverages the scalability of object storage while maintaining fast query performance, balancing cost and performance effectively.

Streamlined data management: The serverless architecture integrates distinct indexing and search tiers, allowing for independent scaling and optimization of hardware for different workloads. This results in more efficient data processing and reduced costs, particularly beneficial for high-volume logging and security applications.

Elastic's serverless architecture represents a significant evolution in data management, emphasizing cost-efficiency, scalability, and operational simplicity, all contributing to a more cost-effective data management solution.

Cybersecurity that evolves at the speed of telco

Telecom operators facing complex cybersecurity challenges in the 5G era can find robust protection with Elastic Security. Its suite, featuring SIEM, endpoint protection, vulnerability management, and CSPM, is designed for modern threats. The inclusion of the Elastic AI Assistant enhances operational efficiency. Additionally, Elastic's data tiered and serverless architecture offers cost-effective data management, crucial for telcos prioritizing both security and cost efficiency. Operators can highly benefit by adopting these solutions for enhanced, cost-effective cybersecurity in their evolving networks.

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