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Data Visualization for Cybersecurity

What is Data Visualization for Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity data visualization refers to the use of charts, graphs, real-time dashboards, and more, to provide an easier means of viewing and analyzing cybersecurity data from different sources. Data visualization helps to break down the barriers between data and understanding by presenting complex data in visual forms. Advantages of cybersecurity data visualization include1:

Situational awareness. Cybersecurity data visualizations can speed detection of patterns in volumes of data, as innate capacity for visual pattern detection allows people to see visual patterns that they may overlook in text form. Visualizations can also increase response time by making it easier to spot anomalies.

Easier communication. Cybersecurity data visualizations improve communication with non-technical stakeholders, such as superiors or trainees, who are not experts in data analytics and can benefit from having analysis results delivered in pictorial form.

Added value. Cybersecurity data visualizations can combine data from different sources into an easily understood picture, creating more value from the existing data.

Saves time. Cybersecurity data visualizations can save a considerable amount of time that would otherwise be spent analyzing and synthesizing data.

With data visualization, it can be faster and easier to identify security issues. Key metrics for cybersecurity data visualization include:

Time to detect/time to respond. Mean Time to Identify (MTTI) and Mean Time to Contain (MTTC) refer to the average time it takes for an organization to identify a breach and to respond to it. Slower MTTI and MTTC performance metrics can provide opportunities for costlier and more destructive cyberattacks.

Days to patch. Mean Time to Patch (MTTP) refers to the number of days that it takes to deploy security patches. Slower MTTP metrics can provide longer periods of vulnerability, increasing the chances of cyberattacks.

Corporate network data volume monitoring. Monitoring data volume across a corporate network allows IT teams to identify users who may be using resources inappropriately, for instance downloading large video files or downloading content from untrustworthy sources. By identifying these users through data visualization, action can be taken to address their activities, which can help to alleviate slowed corporate network traffic and prevent cyberattacks.

Third-party network access. Mapping systems can help to monitor the frequency and length of third parties accessing the network. Data points showing all third-party vendors and partners with network access, which allows IT teams to identify potential vulnerabilities or suspicious activities.

Unidentified devices. Keeping track of how many devices are on the network can help IT teams to ensure that the devices are secure and that they belong to authorized users.

1 Secure Decisions, 2022, “Cyber Security Visualization”