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        Jeff Orr's Analyst Perspectives

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        New Frontiers in Digital Security with Observability Data

        Given the ever-expanding digital footprint of most businesses today, visibility into the performance of distributed systems has become a necessity. There are more data sources and data storage locations than ever before. As organizations continue to expand their data presence and scale their systems and tools, digital security is of greater importance in the architecture and operations. Monitoring is a fundamental enabler of digital security that provides real-time detection of cyber threats and data breaches. Observability is more intensive than monitoring, as it involves the collection of discrete types of data from multiple systems and the correlation of those data sets to achieve actionable visibility into IT resources.

        Organizations may be tempted to build proprietary observability software, since all the capabilities exist in available data platforms and analytical tools. However, buying an application from an observabilityVR_2023_Assertion_Data_Observability_Tech_Investment_16_S vendor will quickly provide a broad set of capabilities and save IT and security practitioners the time and manual effort spent locating and stitching together telemetry data from multiple systems and applications, as well as investigating the root causes of issues. We assert that through 2026, more than one-half of organizations will increase their investment in observability technology to accelerate the value being generated from telemetry data including logs, traces and metrics.

        Furthermore, existing tools can create, support, maintain and fix observability reports and dashboards, leaving more time for higher value activities. And most important, observability data applications give users the tools and metrics to prove the technology’s value to the business, when most business leaders probably don’t understand the purpose of the software. The use cases for observability data have also grown beyond the needs of only the IT team.

        The terms “observability data” and “data observability” are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different concepts. Observability data refers to the specific data points collected by observability tools, while data observability refers to the practice of applying observability processes specifically to the health and performance of organizations’ data systems. The market segments for these two concepts are closely related, as vendors that offer data observability tools were inspired by those that provide tools and platforms for managing observability data.

        Observability data can provide numerous benefits for digital security. By providing increased visibility into the state of digital services, observability data can help organizations improve their security posture and reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents.

        This increased visibility allows organizations to identify and address issues before they negatively impact the business. Observability data monitors the health and performance of digital services. Alerts and triggers proactively address potential security threats and vulnerabilities.

        Increased visibility can also improve digital business service performance. Unmonitored systems can negatively impact business decision-making and operations. The use of observability data for digital security aids in preventing downtime and ensures that critical business processes continue to function smoothly.

        A more unified, standardized and collaborative approach to observability data can create new digital security opportunities. By bringing together data from multiple sources and systems, organizations can gain a more comprehensive understanding of their security posture. This can help mitigate the risk to organizations by reducing the mean time to identify (MTTI) issues.

        A byproduct for security teams monitoring observability data is increasing trust in data used for key business decisions. Observability data grows with the organization and its systems, with support for additional data sources and business requirements. A unified view from observability also enables collaboration amongst data and security teams.

        The digitization of business processes relies on ensuring that infrastructure and applications are performing as expected. Visibility into the current state of infrastructure and application performance based on telemetry data provides a foundation for effective and efficient digital transformation. This means it is no longer just important for IT to utilize observability data but increasingly mission critical for the digital security team. And for the organization, awareness of infrastructure and application performance translates to increased business value.

        Regards,

        Jeff Orr

        Authors:

        Jeff Orr
        Director of Research, Digital Technology

        Jeff Orr leads the research and advisory for the CIO and digital technology expertise at Ventana Research, now part of ISG, with a focus on modernization and transformation for IT. Jeff’s coverage spans cloud computing, DevOps and platforms, digital security, intelligent automation, ITOps and service management, intelligent automation and observation technologies across the enterprise.

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