With production environments becoming increasingly distributed and ephemeral, it becomes difficult for SecOps and DevOps teams to understand the availability and performance of their systems. Despite the rapid growth of monitoring tools on the market today, attaining real-time visibility has never been more challenging.
Organizations and security teams still find it hard to justify the apparent need for true operational change in application development and deployment, even as software — now in the form of distributed, high-velocity, and complex cloud architectures — continues to become the only known way to grow a modern business effectively.
Security analysts struggle with two opposing challenges – too much available data and too little useful data. As per a recent Ponemon Institute survey, 71% of respondents reveal information overload is a key stress factor in their work, while 63% also say lack of visibility into the infrastructure and network is another major stress factor.
Conventional issues like negligent insiders and distributed DoS attacks complicate today’s security operations center (SOC) environment. Moreover, cloud-native applications deployed on containers and other transient infrastructure adds to these challenges. Today’s applications and infrastructure are more transient and dynamic than before, and it comes with a degree of complexity that traditional monitoring hasn’t engaged with.
Shifting to Dynamic Observability
In the past few months, operations teams have started making a move from static monitoring to dynamic observability. Even though monitoring focuses on the health of individual components, observability provides fine-grained visibility into the systems.
However, observability is not for sale – no single tool can provide all the benefits of observable systems. Businesses must create observable systems, from implanting the concept into infrastructure and applications in the form of metrics, logs, and traces. Businesses can see the big picture by integrating data with network traffic, change logs, and IT service management data. Early implementations of observability can also include social media feeds to uncover customer problems with applications before those signals pass onto metrics-based dashboards.
The Need for Observability
Complexity is only one aspect that drives observability. It is not just the shortcomings in traditional monitoring that is pushing observability; it is becoming increasingly crucial as security operations teams work cross-functionally. Today, the security operations center interacts with infrastructure, operations, and DevOps groups, each with its separate analytics and tooling platforms. This is something security operations teams may not have done in the past, and it introduces friction between these teams, for instance, on what a correct outcome is, or what the various data sets mean. Observability can resolve these issues by delivering the right data to respective platforms.
The Observability Pipeline
It is essential that businesses own their data and prevents it from being locked up inside a single vendor system. Likewise, it is also crucial that data can be made available to the entire organization. With instrumented systems, delivering data to the right platforms becomes a challenge. A decoupled approach can help solve the issue.
By building an observability pipeline, businesses can decouple the collection of this data from the ingestion of it into multiple systems. This makes the observability data easily consumable. Organizations do not have to struggle with what data to send, where to send it, and how to send it. All the data is sent to the pipeline, which then filters it and distributes it to the right places. It also provides greater flexibility in deleting or adding data sinks and acts as a buffer between data producers and consumers.