enterprisesecuritymag

5thColumn: The Quintessential Security Solution

CIO VendorRay Hicks, Founder & CTO With the increasing complexity of the IT security industry, professionals are today battling threats from outside the organization as well as those from their own employees. In an era when the average time to detection (TTD) of threats in a tech industry network is 100-200 days, 5thColumn, a boutique information security company centered on next generation cyber threat protection and enterprise data security, has worked together with Cisco to reduce the TTD to about 17 hours. Through a threat-centric security model, 5thColumn is helping clients to discover, enforce, and secure their network. Lead by Ray Hicks, former architect for the Department of Homeland Security's network and security infrastructure, 5thColumn, services companies of various sizes and verticals with hosted, outsourced, or traditional onsite deployment options.

Headquartered in Chicago, IL, 5thColumn was established in 2012, when Hicks brought together subject matter experts consistently providing thought leadership and directly impacting the security market place. Ray, a seasoned and award winning visionary who has addressed patrons worldwide ranging from the Pentagon, Department of Defense (DoD), Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), and NATO, believes that as the IT security industry is evolving into a more mainstream function, there is a loss of expertise—with automated tools becoming the foundation of practitioners. This trend is leading to the development of procedures and methods that create a predictable result and increased associated risks. “We've brought the expertise back into the equation to quickly and accurately identify risks within applications, systems, procedure, and operations that in most cases were unknown to the business,” states Hicks.

Whether it be local, data center, or cloud based data, 5thColumn’s solutions incorporate the latest products and technologies from leading vendors to deliver ultra-high performance networks and infrastructure. As Jay Heiser, research vice president at Gartner, predicts that while realistically 80 percent of the market is in 100 cloud services, 38 percent of companies who don’t plan to use the public cloud cites security and privacy as the main reason. 5thColumn is fulfilling the needs of data security to such high risk and high stakes organizations. From credit card records to highly sensitive intelligence documents, the company showcases an unprecedented expertise and track record to protect and manage all data assets. The infrastructure that helps 5thColumn to rise to the occasion is it’s Tier 3+ data center in downtown Chicago—providing absolute reliability and assurance that client’s data assets are always highly secured and available.

The flexibility of our platform allows us to use it as an assessment tool. Deployed within hours and effective within minutes, our solution greatly benefits clients


Additionally, Hick’s brainchild, that has grassroots connections in working with aerospace and defense contracts, ensures safe IT operations and lowest possible risk of breach in the industry.

Security Orchestration Platform

5thColumn’s turnkey solution, StackBOSSTM with ThreatroSpectiveTM technology builds on the existing infrastructure and products already deployed within the client’s environment, and turns any traditional network into one cohesive, intelligent sensor. It offers client point solutions that are unified, consolidated, and visualized in colorful dashboards, all anchored together. 5thColumn’s mission is to ensure that client’s data is always available, resilient, and accurate. Taking security operations to the next level, StackBOSSTM helps businesses thrive by resolving threats to productivity as they happen—through advanced algorithmic automation. Using its proprietary Business Operational Security Suite (BOSS) Stack, 5thColumn extends the capabilities of existing solutions to enable real-time visibility into endpoint, user, and network health and behavior. It’s comprehensive, highly granular dashboards with customized reports provides only the information relevant to the function within the organization. 5thColumn further eliminates the need for maintenance fees, support contracts, advanced training, and persistent tuning by delivering it 'as a service'. It also uses existing, open source tools to leverage your enterprise IT costs.

By harnessing the ThreatroSpectiveTM technology offered by 5thColumn, clients can reinforce the cracks in their existing security architecture. The company ensures secure, reliable and sorted data by cross-referencing with its database of IPs and URLs known to be malicious or participants in Command and Conquer botnets. Empowering clients to get to the root cause and identify the next step is 5thColumn’s Interrogated.net—by creating a virtual environment for malware behavior where it is simulated, analyzed, and tracked to the endpoint. It is capable of full session file extraction for analysis and disposition reporting to see how and where it may strike next.

Hicks further elucidates, “The flexibility of our platform allows us to use it as an assessment tool. Deployed within hours and effective within minutes, our solution greatly benefits clients because of its simplicity in deployment and its ability to accurately identify advanced progressive threat. It not only alerts clients about the threat but mitigates it as well.” Recognizing that proper detection and response planning are as vital as protection of data assets, 5thColumn’s response management capabilities supports organizations in both planning for future attacks as well as dealing with current activity that appears malicious in nature.
“Our team can effectively stop an existing attack, identify and eradicate the source of a breach, properly document the impact of the activity, and ultimately assist in mitigating the financial and reputational impact they may ensue,” says Hicks.

The company has a proactive stance on data security risk management and knows that the key to effective risk management is an effective set of information security documentation, including policies, procedures, standards and processes. This documentation starts with a thorough gap analysis of an organization's needs and existing capabilities. 5thColumn therefore ensures that the life-cycle management of its solution continues to align with evolving regulatory landscape by analyzing regulatory compliance gap—HIPAA, PCI, ISO 27002. Additionally, 5thColumn leverages SDN, and intelligent WAN technology to redirect web, email, and other traffic directly to its Interrogated Cloud for identification and classification. Consolidating over 100 sources of Cyber-Intel, the deepest possible inspection capabilities identify anomalies and threats anywhere in the processing Stack.

"5thColumn simplifies the complexities associated with today’s threat landscape, delivering smarter technology to secure your entire enterprise architecture"

Dominating the Arena of Enterprise Security

Recently notified by Cisco to have met all the criteria required to become certified in Advanced Security Architecture Specialization, 5thColumn has a clientele network that covers Government agencies, National Defense, Retail, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Financial sectors. The company provides consistent and ongoing subject matter expertise and specialized service delivery capabilities to several exclusive partners which has propelled 5thColumn to be one of Chicago's leading IT organizations with a global capacity. As a progressive meritocracy, 5thColumn’s engineers and thought leaders collaborate in the design, configuration, and deployment of proven, next-generation solutions to some of the most complex issues businesses face today. Painting an impressive image of 5thColumn is a success story that involves one of its customers having doubled its size overnight through acquisition of another organization: the customer’s standards and baselines previously defined by 5thColumn would need to be enforced across this new organization. As a standard procedure, when 5thColumn monitored the combined infrastructure, it quickly identified anomalies outside of the acceptable baseline that were ultimately revealed to be of malicious activity. 5thColumn was able to determine the entry trajectory and create remediation actions that were automatically and proactively applied, preventing any successful breach.

By thoroughly combining real-world experience with unparalleled expertise, 5thColumn has cultivated a mid-western culture for thought leaders and problem solvers making its business just as unique as the people that created it. It has a number of strategic initiatives that are on its way to realization including extending the presence of its infrastructure to four more facilities around the globe. “5thColumn approaches each client requirement with a unique perspective: to deliver a solution addressing defined requirements and ultimately transform them into high performance businesses, organizations, institutions, and governments,” concludes Hicks.
- Syeda Tina Tabin
    December 13, 2016