How IBM BigFix and IBM Security QRadar work together to fill in the gaps of cybersecurity

With today’s advanced threats growing stealthier, more dynamic and more damaging, the need for integrated, intelligent, automated resources has never been greater. BigFix and QRadar Security Intelligence Platform can help meet this need. They empower IT operations and security teams to work together to protect assets from increasingly sophisticated attacks.

The following examples show how BigFix and IBM Security QRadar solutions can be used together to strengthen security.


Cybercriminals are continuously using new tactics to attack endpoints, and these advanced threats can often go unnoticed by traditional security approaches such as anti-virus and antispyware solutions. But with granular visibility into endpoint properties, BigFix enables organizations to see “stealthy” configuration changes and automate remedial action. Similarly, BigFix can discover suspicious applications. When a piece of malicious code attempts to install unauthorized applications, BigFix has the ability to identify that behavior in real time and automatically remediate it.

QRadar users can leverage this endpoint intelligence to help IT staff focus on the vulnerabilities that do not have an automated fix. In fact, IBM Security QRadar Vulnerability Manager helps minimize false positives and filters out vulnerabilities that have already been classified as non-threatening. For example, applications may be installed on a server, but they may be inactive, and therefore not a security risk; devices that appear exposed may actually be protected by a firewall; or endpoints that have vulnerabilities may already be scheduled for patching. BigFix continuously assesses the status of endpoints, automatically initiating updates and configuration changes via IBM Fixlet® messages. By understanding which vulnerabilities have a Fixlet available, QRadar users can drastically reduce the total number of vulnerabilities that need to be analyzed— improving the response and remediation time for unpatched vulnerabilities. What’s more, IT staff can use ad-hoc queries to help identify offenses and suspected incidents.


When unusual activities are taking place anywhere on the network, QRadar users can correlate that suspicious behavior with other threat data and assign the high-risk vulnerabilities to BigFix for remediation. This way, IT personnel can not only know which updates, changes or patches are considered high priority, but can also take action on them—helping reduce the risk of the initial exploit, lowering exploit propagation and improving productivity. Closed-loop verification helps ensure that changes are completed and the status is reported to the management console.

Whether applying a patch to repair a newly discovered vulnerability on hundreds of thousands of endpoints or assessing the configuration status of employee-owned devices, BigFix can affect organization-wide change in minutes. With BigFix, assessment and analysis are conducted on the endpoint itself—which increases the speed of discovery, software delivery and validation. Less communication is required between the management server and endpoint, increasing speed and reducing the amount of network bandwidth consumed.


BigFix can accurately interrogate any aspect of an endpoint and provide a real-time view into problems that exist in the environment. For example, BigFix can detect when users are using modified “jail-broken” devices or have installed suspicious applications, and can then quarantine the device from the network. This enables organizations to discover issues quickly, and it provides an additional layer of defense when traditional security defenses either fail or provide fixes too late to prevent an incident.

In addition, QRadar users can easily combine mobile events from BigFix with network activity for offense identification, forensics investigations and compliance reporting. With more accurate asset information, IT staff can rapidly identify rogue or unmanaged endpoints, improving detection and response time. QRadar also maintains a current network view of all discovered vulnerabilities, including which vulnerabilities are currently blocked from exploitation by firewall and intrusion prevention system (IPS) rules, and which are still at risk of being exploited.

If users have installed a virus, BigFix can ensure that endpoints are disinfected and stay up to date. The solution’s centralized management console provides a single, granular view for comprehensive visibility and control across distributed global networks. Operators can perform remedial actions in minutes— and receive immediate validation that the action has completed successfully


QRadar solutions and BigFix can work together to provide continuous policy enforcement to help maintain compliance. In fact, BigFix provides organization-wide reports instantly— without having to poll systems to assess the overall security compliance posture. This data can then be included within out-of- the- box QRadar compliance reports, including historic views of daily, weekly and monthly trends, as well as long-term trending reports required by many security regulations.

With a single, integrated dashboard for viewing multiple vulnerability assessment feeds and threat intelligence sources, QRadar users can understand the overall context of network usage, security and threat posture. This helps facilitate compliance— including CyberScope reporting and continuous diagnostics and mitigation programs—by prioritizing security gaps for resolution. It’s an integrated approach to addressing vulnerabilities and then reporting on the up-to- the- minute security status.


With the help of QRadar solutions and BigFix, IT operations and IT security teams can more easily collaborate on suspected offenses, initiating investigations and corrective actions from the same console. This can help speed the response to web-based malware and other types of advanced threats. Operations staff can be overwhelmed by a sea of vulnerabilities—without the contextual data to help them focus their efforts on the weaknesses that are most likely to be exploited. It is not uncommon, as a result, for several weeks to pass between the discovery of a known vulnerability and the known patch being applied. At the same time, security teams can lack a comprehensive view of endpoint status, which limits their understanding of the threat landscape. And, if an endpoint vulnerability is identified, security teams can find it nearly impossible to quickly remediate or mitigate the risks.

BigFix can provide security for fixed, network-connected endpoints and roaming, Internet-connected endpoints faster than waiting for a vendor’s mass-distribution of signature files. BigFix cross-references threat information against a large, continuously updated cloud-based database to assess the malicious potential of files and URLs in real time, and delivers anti-malware protection to endpoints as needed. A laptop used in an airport, for example, can receive anywhere, anytime, cloud-based protection from threats lurking on websites it visits or files it receives.


In Summary

By combining BigFix with QRadar Security Intelligence Platform, organizations can be proactive about vulnerability management. They can identify weaknesses in systems, software or the network that attackers can exploit—and then remediate those vulnerabilities to prevent an attack or minimize the impact to the organization.

If you liked this blog, you also might like:  Smarter Security, Smarter Everything

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IBM Security: QRadar Intelligence and Ops

IBM's integrated solutions harness security-relevant information from across your organization, and use analytics and automation to provide context and help you detect threats faster, identify vulnerabilities, prioritize risks, perform forensics analysis and automate compliance activities. 

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