January 03, 2006

Like many financial institutions, Zions Bancorporation leverages security information management (SIM) systems to collect data in real time, identify its level of compliance with company security policies and industry mandates, and analyze trends that can reduce internal security risks. But, saddled with manual, aging SIM systems, Salt Lake City-based Zions ($28.6 billion in assets) was eager to find a more efficient solution for data interpretation, reporting and storage.

"We recognized that we could be more efficient with our security event management efforts," says Preston Wood, the bank's chief information security officer. "While we have been successful with our log consolidation and data aggregation tools, we wanted to find ways to improve these processes."

Searching for Scalability

So, in 2004, Zions began searching for new data analysis technology. "Ideally, we wanted a scalable system that could support the millions of records created across the enterprise," he explains. "The system also needed to be able to run quick, granular, detailed security event trending reports."

Zions conducted an internal investigation of available solutions and singled out San Francisco-based SenSage's enterprise-class analytics software and scalable log server solution. According to Wood, the bank did not issue a formal RFP or consider other vendors because, "We felt that SenSage could help us gain a scalable system that supports the volume of records we would feed into it," he says, adding that the solution "accurately [deals] with data storage and queries."

Wood describes the solution as "a clustering system that can be added to for a low cost per CPU." The scalable log server is "capable of storing all of our enterprise's security event information," he says, noting that the solution also serves as an analytics tool that quickly produces trend reports, enabling the bank to make more-intelligent use of its data.