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Version: VAST v3.1

SOC Federation

VAST is an engine for telemetry storage and security content execution, embeddable at the edge and specifically catering to use cases of larger SOCs at service providers, network operators, and managed detection and response (MDR) vendors. Ultimately, we strive for a federated architecture that pushes workloads deep into the edge. Today, we consider "edge" the constituency that a SOC oversees from a detection and response perspective.

Before discussing more specific use cases, we discuss our view on edge security architecture more generally. The diagram below shows an example environment:

The core idea is to keep the bulk of the data decentralized at their respective origin, and disseminate security content via a security data fabric to the VAST nodes—effectively shipping compute to the data. The SOC will always need central management and collaboration, and selective backhauling of data. The architecture does not exclude this, but the focus is on offloading as much processing to the edge as possible, including contextualization and pre-processing.

This approach differs from traditional architectures that centralizes all security event data, with SIEMs as work horse. Specifically, when building a central solution on top of legacy SIEMs, operators struggle with (i) keeping up with ingesting the exponentially increasing data volumes, i.e., operate under a continuously saturated write path, (ii) answering low-latency queries needed for ad-hoc investigations and threat hunting, (iii) automating processing of threat intelligence live and retrospectively, and (iv) offering high-bandwidth access for data-centric operations like feature extraction, model training, and detection engineering.

Cloud-native security data lakes may sound like an appealing alternative to address the scaling issues, but also raise new concerns:

  1. Cloud Choice: what public-cloud security stack should you choose when laying the foundation for SOC service? Most large organizations are multi-cloud and it is ineffective to operate multiple cloud security stacks.
  2. Customization: if the cloud provider offering fits your needs, great, but what about customizations? Are the extension hooks sufficient? What about exchanging or integrating a piece of functionality from another vendor who offers a more compelling point solution? A best-of-breed strategy is an uphill battle in a locked down ecosystem.
  3. On-premise: private cloud and on-premise deployments will remain next to public-cloud workloads. Even though Anthos, Outpost, and Stack bring the cloud control plane closer back to the enterprise, certain environments will always remain autarkic. To be clear, our goal is to deploy VAST in exactly these cloud-on-prem environments, but we strongly believe that no one should be coerced to run on top of a third-party platform they do not control.
Key Benefits

A federated edge security architecture with a fleet of VAST nodes as foundation for detection and response has the following benefits:

  1. Better detection: as compute ramps up at the edge, so does detection capability. Pushing resource-intense workloads (e.g., pre-trained attack models, kill-chain state machines, multi-stage analytics) to the edge opens new avenues for scaling efficiently.
  2. Faster response: detections can trigger responses faster due to closer proximity to the affected entity. Responding can become smarter and more independent when data-driven decision making can rely on low-latency and high-bandwidth access to context.
  3. Easier compliance: when keeping data at the source, adhering to data residency requirements becomes simpler. In addition, VAST offers flexible transformation and compaction feature to keep data compliant with respect to the local policy.
  4. Strong multi tenancy: A multi-node VAST deployment makes it easy to cater to strict data separation while enabling cross-tenant analytics in a transparent way. We are working on a clearing house architecture and unified fleet management solution to offer a turn-key solution for service providers, stay tuned.