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Getting the Most Out of Your UEBA: Best Practices and Tips

3 min read


Cybersecurity teams have it hard. Amidst soaring attack rates, a persistent skills gap, and a tumultuous global economy, organizations have prioritized finding ways to secure their environment using as few resources as possible.

Fortunately, automated tools and technologies are available to help detect, respond to, and ultimately prevent threats. User behavior and entity analytics (UEBA) solutions leverage data analytics, integration, and presentation to empower even the most minor security teams to identify suspicious behaviors and respond accordingly. 

Setting up a UEBA solution for the first time can be daunting; this article will guide you through the best practices necessary for selecting and implementing the best UEBA implementation for your organization. 

Define your objectives  

Before purchasing and implementing your UEBA solution, you should establish what you want to achieve. Identify the specific security use cases and risks you need to address; these can include but are not limited to: 

  • Insider threats 
  • Compromised accounts
  • Unauthorized access 
  • Abnormal behavior patterns

By defining your objectives in this way, you ensure your UEBA solution and implementation strategy align with your overall security goals. 

Collect all relevant data. 

UEBA solutions are only effective if you provide them with comprehensive data from various sources. Ensure you collect data from log files, network traffic, user activity, and other relevant data points. You must collect the above data from all relevant sources to achieve a holistic view of user and identity behavior and enable your UEBA solution to identify abnormal behavior patterns effectively. 

Normalize and enrich data. 

It’s not enough to merely collect information; organizations must normalize and enrich collected data to eliminate inconsistencies and ensure accurate behavior analytics. To normalize data, you must standardize data formats and structures, ensuring consistency across disparate data sources. Enriching data requires organizations to enhance collected data with contextual information, which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • User roles
  • Asset classifications
  • Geographical locations

Evaluate machine learning capabilities.

It’s essential that, when selecting a UEBA solution, you are confident that it has advanced machine learning capabilities. Machine learning and advanced analytics algorithms allow UEBA solutions to identify hidden patterns, detect anomalies, and predict potential threats. Moreover, the best UEBA solutions continuously train the algorithms with new data, improving their accuracy over time. Review product comparison resources to ensure your chosen UEBA solution has the necessary machine-learning capabilities.

Ensure user privacy and compliance.

UEBA solutions are, by their nature, invasive. Behavior analysis solutions such as UEBA monitor user behavior around the clock, so it’s of utmost importance that you understand, prioritize, and comply with any regulations you may be subject to. The solution you choose must respect data privacy guidelines, respect employees’ rights. Organizations should also implement appropriate access controls and encryption mechanisms to protect sensitive data and communicate honestly and openly with users about the purpose of UEBA technologies to establish trust. 

Integrate with SIEM and other security tools. 

Ensure you can integrate your chosen UEBA solution with security information and event management (SIEM)solutions and other security tools. By integrating solutions, you can comprehensively view security events, enabling correlation and cross-analysis between UEBA insights and other security data sources, enhancing your overall threat detection and response capabilities. It’s essential to remember that UEBA should not be a standalone security solution and is not a substitute for crucial monitoring tools such as intrusion detection systems (IDS). 

Secure your solution with access controls.  

While UEBA solutions monitor access behaviors, they must be subject to access controls. You must grant the correct privileges to the right staff members, restricting access to include only the necessary employees, most likely the security team. Only these team members should be able to see UEBA data and receive alerts from the system. 

Monitor for escalating privileges

Non-privileged user accounts aren’t necessarily harmless; hackers often target these accounts, attempt to escalate privileges, and access sensitive systems. UEBA solutions can help prevent unauthorized privilege escalation, but you must configure your software to identify this behavior.

Regularly monitor and evaluate your solution

Lastly, it’s essential that you do not treat your UEBA solution as a “set it and forget it” tool. To ensure your solution remains effective, you must continuously analyze its performance and accuracy, review alerts and incidents, and refine the detection algorithms when necessary. You must also keep track of the evolving threat landscape and update the solution accordingly. 

Organizations implementing UEBA solutions can significantly strengthen their security posture by detecting and responding to suspicious user and entity behavior. The best practices outlined above will allow organizations to maximize the value and effectiveness of UEBA solutions. Organizations can proactively detect and mitigate potential security threats by defining clear objectives, collecting all relevant data, leveraging advanced analytics, and integrating with existing security tools, ultimately safeguarding their critical assets and data.

Author Bio

Josh is a Content writer at Bora. He graduated with a degree in Journalism in 2021 and has a background in cybersecurity PR. He’s written on a wide range of topics, from AI to Zero Trust, and is particularly interested in the impacts of cybersecurity on the wider economy. 

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