Update to Cato MDR Shortens Time-to-Value, Automates 70 Security Checks

Dave Greenfield
June 22, 2021

Nobody likes to wait for results, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to managed detection and response (MDR) services. MDR services are meant to eliminate threats faster by outsourcing threat hunting to third-party specialists. But to accomplish their goal, MDR services require up to 90 days to baseline typical network operation.

Which is odd if you think about it. Malware dwell time already exceeds 200 days. Why invest in an MDR service if it’ll be another three months before your organization realizes any results?

Cato has a better way. The new release of Cato MDR announced this week eliminates the startup window by tapping cross-organizational baselines developed using the Cato system. Let’s take a closer look.

Whats Behind the Cato MDR Service 

As part of the broader Cato service, Cato MDR has deep visibility into enterprise traffic patterns. We’ve developed a simply massive data warehouse storing the metadata for every IP address, session, and flow crossing the Cato global backbone. We do that over time, so we can see the historical and current traffic patterns across thousands of enterprises and hundreds of thousands of remote users worldwide.

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This incredible data repository gives us the basis for our Cato Threat Hunting System (CTHS), a set of multidimensional machine learning algorithms and procedures developed by Cato Research Labs that continuously analyze customer traffic for the network attributes indicative of threats. More specifically,  CTHS has the following capabilities:

  • Full Visibility, No Sensors: Cato sees all WAN and Internet traffic normally segmented by network firewalls and Network Address Translation (NAT). CTHS has full access to real-time network traffic for every IP, session, and flow initiated from any endpoint to any WAN or Internet resource. Optional SSL decryption further expands available data for threat mining. CTHS uses its deep visibility to determine the client application communicating on the network and identify unknown clients. The raw data needed for this analysis is often unavailable to security analytics platforms, such as SIEMs, and is impossible to correlate for real-time systems, such as legacy IPS.
  • Deep Threat Mining: Data aggregation and machine learning algorithms mine the full network context over time and across multiple enterprise networks. Threat mining identifies suspicious applications and domains using a unique “popularity” indicator modeled on access patterns observed throughout the customer base. Combining client and target contexts yields a minimal number of suspicious events for investigation.
  • Human Threat Verification: Cato’s world-class Security Operations Center (SOC) validates the events generated by CTHS to ensure customers receive accurate notifications of live threats and affected devices. CTHS output is also used to harden Cato’s prevention layers to detect and stop malicious activities on the network.
  • Rapid Threat Containment: For any endpoint, specific enterprise network, or the entire Cato customers base, the SOC can deploy policies to contain any exposed endpoint, both fixed and mobile, in a matter of minutes.

CTHS creates a deep, threat-hunting foundation that powers all Cato security services without requiring customers to deploy data collection infrastructure or analyze mountains of raw data. At the same time, CTHS adheres to privacy regulatory frameworks such as GDPR. With CTHS and Cato Cloud, enterprises of all sizes continue their journey to streamline and simplify network and security.

Cato MDR 2.0 Gains Automated 70-Point Checklist

Beyond faster time-to-value, Cato has also introduced automatic security assessment to the MDR service. Instantly, customers learn how their network security compares against the checks and best practices implemented by enterprises worldwide. Items inspected include proper network segmentation, firewall rules, and security controls, like IPS and anti-malware. The 70-point checklist is derived from the practices of the “best” enterprises across Cato — and avoids the biggest mistakes of the worst enterprises.

“Much of what we’re highlighting in our 70-point checklist is probably common sense to any security-minded professional. But all too often, those practices have not been found in one actionable resource,” says Elad Menahem, director of security at Cato Networks.

And to further enhance the support given to Cato MDR customers, we’ve designated security engineers for each customer. The DSEC becomes the customer’s single point of contact and security advisor. The DSEC can also tweak threat hunting queries to enhance detection specific to the customer environment, such as gathering specific network information to protect specific valuable assets.

The DSEC is part of the large SOC team, sitting between the Security Analysts and the Security Research. Coupled with CTHS and Cato’s unique data warehouse, Cato MDR brings the best of human intelligence and machine intelligence for the highest degree of protection.

Overall, Cato underscores yet another aspect of the value of a global, cloud-native SASE platform. To learn more about Cato MDR, visit https://www.catonetworks.com/services#managed-threat-detection-and-response.

The Cato automatic assessment identifies misconfiguration against 70 security best practices, returning a security posture score and a detailed report for easy action.

The Cato automatic assessment identifies misconfiguration against 70 security best practices, returning a security posture score and a detailed report for easy action.

 

 

Dave Greenfield

Dave Greenfield is a veteran of IT industry. He’s spent more than 20 years as an award-winning journalist and independent technology consultant. Today, he serves as a secure networking evangelist for Cato Networks.