The Evolution of Threat Defense – An Interview with Steve Povolny of Exabeam


Steve Povolny is Director of Security Research at Exabeam, a leading cybersecurity firm known for its cutting-edge, cloud-scale security log management, powerful behavior analytics, and automated investigation solutions. The firm’s innovative security operations platform employs advanced analytics to detect anomalies and safeguard digital assets. In a recent interview with Steve, we talked about vulnerabilities, the rise in ransomware attacks, the role of users, and the evolving threat landscape.

The Role of Behavior Profiling and Machine Learning in Detecting Threats

As Steve pointed out, “vulnerabilities are the weaknesses that attackers exploit, while IoCs are the signs that a vulnerability has been exploited.” Understanding these concepts is vital to crafting a robust cybersecurity strategy. For instance, a vulnerability might be a weak password that an attacker can easily guess, while the IoC could be an unrecognized IP address logging into a system.

Exabeam stands out in its approach to dealing with such threats, focusing heavily on understanding user behavior, device behavior, and interactions among all digital assets in an organization’s ecosystem. Steve shared that “attackers cannot gain access for the first time to our privileged AD server, for example, without creating anomalies.”

These anomalies, or deviations from standard behavior, serve as warning signs of potential attacks. Exabeam’s sophisticated techniques, honed over a decade of research, help in pinpointing these anomalies and raising red flags.

Exabeam: Delivering Industry-shaping Security Solutions

Exabeam stands out in the cybersecurity landscape with its New-Scale SIEM portfolio, built on the cloud-native Exabeam Security Operations Platform, a robust solution designed to optimize the efficiency and accuracy of security operations. Its SIEM platform brings cloud-scale Security Log Management capabilities, while its advanced behavioral analytics and automated investigation experience streamline threat detection and incident response. With over 9,470 pre-built log parsers and the capacity to process over a million events per second, it offers an unparalleled fast search experience.

What sets Exabeam apart is its focus on context and outcomes. The platform enriches security data with context from threat intelligence feeds, increasing accuracy in threat detection. Furthermore, its outcome-focused approach simplifies workflows and provides a comprehensive view of the security posture, offering data-driven recommendations to strengthen defenses. This integration of advanced tools and strategic solutions encapsulates Exabeam’s commitment to empowering organizations to detect, defend, and defeat cybersecurity threats effectively.

Evolving Threat Landscape: The Rise of Stealthy Attackers

Today’s attackers are growing more adept at hiding their tracks. They attempt to mimic normal user behavior, making it more challenging to spot their malicious activities. Despite their efforts, Steve explained, attackers will inevitably “boil up to abnormal” at some point, revealing their presence. The key lies in being equipped with the right technology to recognize these subtle changes in behavior patterns.

The Persistent Threat of Ransomware

In a sobering revelation, Steve pointed out that we are in the midst of a surge in ransomware attacks. While 2021 was a record year for ransomware, in terms of both payouts and occurrences, current trends suggest 2023 may follow suit.

This points to the need for organizations to take a more proactive stance in dealing with cybersecurity threats. Steve emphasized the importance of individual responsibility in maintaining security hygiene and urged users to understand basic security tenets.

Povolny emphasized, “It’s so important to make sure you have a rapid patching strategy, that you do incident response, that you deploy a wide range of security tools in the network, at the endpoint.”

Steve’s insights underscore the critical importance of understanding vulnerabilities and IoCs, as well as recognizing the ongoing evolution of the threat landscape. With proactive measures, innovative technology, and a commitment to good security hygiene, we can strengthen our defenses against the consequences of successful cyberattacks.

The User’s Role in Maintaining Security

Povolny didn’t shy away from pointing out that users, both in the consumer and professional space, play a pivotal role in maintaining security hygiene. By raising the bar on user understanding of basic security tenets, we can significantly reduce the attack surface for cybercriminals.

As an example, basic security hygiene might include practices like regularly updating passwords, avoiding suspicious email links, and keeping software up-to-date. Exabeam’s focus on user behavior allows the company to help clients educate their teams on what normal and abnormal behavior looks like, empowering each user to be a part of the solution.

Exabeam: An Innovative Approach to Cybersecurity

Exabeam has been at the forefront of cybersecurity, providing state-of-the-art threat management solutions to tackle ever-evolving cyber threats. With its focus on behavior profiling and machine learning, it has been able to predict, detect, and respond to threats efficiently.

For instance, the Exabeam Security Operations Platform incorporates advanced analytics and automated incident response solutions to ensure rapid detection and containment of threats. These technologies are not only detecting anomalies but are continually learning and adapting to the changing threat landscape, making Exabeam an important player in the cybersecurity space.

The interview with Steve Povolny underscored the reality of the cyber threats we face and the importance of understanding vulnerabilities and IoCs. However, with the proper strategy and the right tools, organizations can equip themselves to better detect, respond to, and recover from attacks. Povolny’s final remarks echoed this sentiment, offering a summary of our shared responsibility in maintaining cybersecurity hygiene and the need for continuous vigilance in the face of evolving threats.

This detailed insight into Exabeam’s approach and the wider cyber threat landscape serves as a reminder that while the risk is real, so too are the defenses we can deploy to protect ourselves and our organizations by taking a proactive, knowledgeable, and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity.


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