Oklahoma City using SIEM to crack down on hackers - and wayward employees

Oklahoma City is using technology that not only watches for signs of any hacker activity on its municipal government network, but monitors employee online behavior to assure no one's going out of bounds.

"We wanted to be able to respond to intrusions," says Tom Barnum, security engineer for Oklahoma City, about the main reason the city deployed the Prism Microsystems security information and event management (SIEM) product EventTracker about two years ago. But the city government is also finding it to be a way to follow what employees, including IT staff, do via their computers online and have city managers step in when need be.

BEST PRACTICES: SIEM deployment

The Prism SIEM client software "keeps track of all the events on the machine, log-in and log-out times, and it has the ability to track programs," Barnum says. SIEM has become a tool for gauging "employee malfeasance," that might mean anything from trying to access something they shouldn't or wasting time with unauthorized applications.

Oklahoma City has established procedures, some via automated alerts, where city managers can be immediately informed electronically about misbehavior. This spares the IT department from having to directly play the policing role.

SIEM can also keep track of whether certain records are changed. And on the IT administrative side, where only certain workers have access to machines like police computers, if someone gets dropped or added, an alert is sent out right away.

While the Prism SIEM can make many determinations on its own, the IT security staff still has to plow through raw data at times to interpret what's going on, Barnum says. For instance, new activity on the municipal network, such as when the city started a migration to Windows 7, will send up the "noise level" and require another round of SIEM "tuning".

Although it's a powerful security tool, there are some limitations with Prism's SIEM offering, according to Barnum. For one thing, it faces challenges monitoring over wireless networks due to bandwidth constraints. Also, "EventTracker is not geared toward high-speed searching," Barnum says. Some intensive searches into stored log and event data "can take a week" and although the latest version is an improvement, "it's still not a system getting rolling-fast searches."

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityWindowsWindows 7softwareoperating systemsSIEM

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ellen Messmer

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?