Paul Lomax, CEO and Tim Thurlings, CTO
Headquartered in Greater London, England, bluedog Security Monitoring has a unique take on the concept of cybersecurity and its deployment. In the words of Tim Thurlings, CTO of bluedog, “security is not about technology, but about people.”
But, how is it about the people? Thurlings explains: “By combining our hardware in a box—Sentinel— with the capabilities of a 100 strong SOC team, we focus more on the data science and people than the technology itself to deliver enterprise grade tools to small and medium sized businesses (SMBs).” bluedog understands that they are working with people who are not security specialists, and their clients are professionals who have their own work to do. Because of the complexity, low awareness about enterprise grade software and the lack of budgets, SMBs often rely on what the consumer market has to offer, to protect their networks. Bluedog wants to change this with Sentinel—an internal network security monitoring solution built with the SMBs and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) in mind.
Unique Differentiation, for Improved Security
How bluedog differs from a typical managed detection and response vendor is in the way they bring enterprise quality tools to SMBs. The hardware module, Sentinel comes loaded with functionalities that enable bluedog’s engineers to work with the data collected from the clients’ local networks. This proprietary, “plug in and protect” tech originates from the difficulty that bluedog saw with clients who try to get an intrusion prevention system in place. Such solutions— especially an inline system—often require significant efforts from the customer’s side, where users need to make many network changes before they can get the solution rolling. On the other hand, open source or custom products are difficult to implement and complex to use. bluedog’s hardware box comes with its own WiFi router to create an access point. The device enables bluedog to have full control of the system. Once the box is hooked up, it opens up a WiFi network, and every device that the user connects to it will retrieve the IP address from the box. This ensures that all the data travels through the box automatically, with the added security benefits that it offers. It is literally plug in and ready.
“We think of our box as an employee, a person inside the customers’ network who will make sure that everything runs smoothly and securely,” says Thurlings.
Clear Cut Pathfinder
bluedog’s 24/7/365 managed monitoring provides ongoing network traffic analysis and feedback regarding each business’ security. Sentinel renders a bird’s eye view into a network’s security status—in real time—as it changes in the face of new attacks, threats, software updates, and reconfigurations. The data collected by Sentinel can be used to then translate the output from the network into customer comprehensible information in colour codes—say Red, Green, Orange or Yellow.
This technical data can be converted into management information to help clients steer their security strategies. This data can also power compliance information, to have GDPR, ISO 27001, or a PCI DSS compliance status update, not just once a year, or whenever the auditor comes, but in real time. “We help our customers become better and more mature in their security posture, so they can sleep better at night, be at ease, and do what they are best at—their core business. bluedog simply handles all their security headaches,” says Thurlings.
By combining our hardware in a box—Sentinel, with the capabilities of our 100 strong SOC team, we focus more about the data science and people than the technology itself, to deliver enterprise quality tools to small and medium enterprises
Integrated into an enterprise environment, Sentinel also enables clients to load additional modules. bluedog ensures that everything they build is agile and modular, and hence their primary focus while adding security solutions rests in customers. For example, the company is currently working with a larger enterprise in the UK, who is using CITRIX to transfer data. bluedog’s competitors had issues with monitoring a CITRIX environment and carrying out detection and response. bluedog worked closely with the client to develop a specialized, tailored module, so the client could have an input in their ecosystem’s final layout and its associated components. As Thurlings notes, “as soon as we encounter a need from a customer, we will work with them to make the data visible to them so that they can get better insights into the security environments.”
Ensuring Solid Accountability
Going beyond the efficient monitoring of the network, bluedog also makes sure that their clients’ employees don’t breach any company policy, take in viruses or install destructive malware. Direct insight is given through The Boss, bluedog’s customer dashboard, which offers transparent and easy to interpret results. This is followed by analysis to provide immediate and actionable recommendations and responses. The qualified team of security analysts watch over assets, making sure that bad actors are not reading along. Anomalies are analysed every hour to identify attack types and the ways in which attackers try to break into the network. From the moment of detection, the bluedog incident responders kick in to fight together with the client. Ultimately, it boils down to incident response and crisis management. While other cybersecurity services warn users of anomalies in the network, bluedog allows clients to sleep and wake up to a resolved incident. Performing incident management in accordance to the ISO27035 guidelines ensures a governed process, with full forensic capabilities, incident handling, containment, and resolution.
The SOC engineers at bluedog reinforce these efforts. Each engineer holds a minimum of a master’s in Computer Science Engineering, and with the “bluedog university,” the company trains and educates their employees in cutting edge skills, giving them a 3-4 year curriculum to hone their skills.
Milestones Passed and the Future Ahead
Having a keen eye for the market and customers has always been bluedog’s strong suite. Foreseeing the imminent demands and trends, the company is planning to launch a customer side dashboard that will add to Sentinel’s powerful suite of capabilities. The new dashboard will form an expansive interface, where both resellers and end customers can monitor all the devices that they have under control. The company is also excited about the capabilities of their new WiFi end router.
From a go-to-market standpoint, bluedog works with partners that include resellers, managed service providers, managed security service providers and distributors. The company believes that the best way to help a customer is through human interaction. With a personal spokesperson or dedicated account manager who meets the client on a weekly basis, bluedog ensures that they offer their services in a better way. “It is always good to have someone on the ground who knows the customer, so that they can talk to someone whom they trust, a familiar face,” says Thurlings.
Looking ahead, bluedog believes that AI will play a large role in the security landscape, especially in the next couple of years. The company is currently working more with ML to understand the threat landscape, which they believe, will become more challenging. Having accumulated significant amount of data, they are also looking at achieving the scalability to assess trillions of events on a monthly basis and identifying the scope of AI to meet those demands. Anomaly detection is another huge aspect for bluedog, where they work with the data to examine patterns in attacks before they happen.
Geographically, bluedog is aiming to expand in South East Asia, and build new partnerships in the U.S. while strengthening the ones in the UK. The company also plans to partner with telcos to reach to a wider customer base. At the core of all these, the company’s primary focus will continue to be on bluedog university. They truly believe that this will help them in giving back to the community/ economy, going back to Thurlings’ original statement, “it’s more about the people, not technology.”
Amidst the buzz surrounding technological innovations in the cybersecurity landscape, a predominant element that often gets overlooked is the people that belong to such a security infrastructure. bluedog security monitoring steers away from this hype train and upholds the principle of crafting solutions based on the niche and discrete requirements of people--an approach, that will continue to be the factor for the success of the firm.