Understanding Rule-Based Detection


Understanding Rule-Based Detection

As delivered on a Gartner blog post, “One of the famous insults that security vendors use against competitors nowadays is ‘RULE-BASED.’” But what does this really mean, and is this really such a bad thing?

The essence of rule-based detection is precisely what’s implied by the name itself: The technology and tools in place operate on a set of predetermined rules. These are used to detect and respond to threats that are known to show certain characteristics. Rule-based detection, therefore, is used to identify and mitigate the continuous known threats coming at enterprise networks. 

The dig in the insult mentioned refers to the fact that these tools only go so far in preventing breaches. Rule-based detection isn’t going to be as effective at identifying and stopping zero-day exploits. For this, more advanced technologies that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning are necessary. While these are important new forces in the field of cybersecurity, they’re not the only essential players. Despite the digs, there’s a lot of utility to rule-based detection.

Why Does Rule-Based Detection Matter?

Even though there’s a ton of value to be gained from some of the security tools that use technology more advanced than what’s needed for rule-based detection, this doesn’t mean rule-based detection isn’t still important. Threats come in all shapes and sizes, and can reach their targets through a variety of mediums. Focusing too much on a narrow pool of security tools can leave organizations open to attack.

The thing is, rule-based detection is still quite effective at spotting and isolating certain threats. By knowing what kinds of threats can be stopped most effectively through rule-based detection, such as known malware, it’s possible to utilize it in a way that creates effective network defense.

What Are Use Cases for Rule-Based Detection?

Once you see there are in fact reasons to utilize and care about rule-based detection, it’s time to dig into some of the more specific uses. How can enterprises actually utilize these tools in order to keep their networks more secure? One of the most obvious answers is endpoint detection and response (EDR).

With EDR, you’re deploying series of tools and protocols designed specifically for stopping threats at endpoints. These are basically any kind of device that might connect to enterprise networks, such as laptops, smartphones, or eve IoT sensors. Endpoints are everywhere and only getting more prevalent due to the increase of autonomous devices and remote working. In order to sufficiently protect endpoints, enterprises should deploy EDR that utilizes rule-based detection and endpoint behavioral analysis. 

This isn’t just a good idea, it’s pretty much essential in today’s world. About 70 percent of all breaches begin at endpoints, so it’s pretty critical to have them secure. Utilizing EDR with rule-based detection can facilitate safer endpoints. 

Should Enterprises Adopt Rule-Based Detection Solutions?

While some still might scoff at rule-based detection systems, this is not the correct attitude. Modern enterprises can’t simply put rule-based detection solutions on the shelf when they have some clear benefits. 

Arguably the most critical component to rule-based detection is the fact that it can give your team a head start on isolating attacks before they’re able to jump throughout your network. Due to rule-based detection’s ability to spot specific behaviors across the board, it’s possible to contain threats before they lead to damage. This capability is a huge plus considering time is such a crucial component in reducing the impact of a breach. 

No matter the scope of your business, utilizing rule-based detection in your security posture is a wise move. These tools are able to give security teams a better chance at cutting off threats before they do real harm. 


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