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Data-Driven Security: Analysis, Visualization and Dashboards by Bob Rudis, Jay Jacobs

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Chapter 6

Visualizing Security Data

“The human visual system is a pattern seeker of enormous power and subtlety. The eye and the visual cortex of the brain form a massively parallel processor that provides the highest bandwidth channel into human cognitive centers.”

Colin Ware, Information Visualization

Chapter 1 briefly mentioned that data analysis is similar to how archeology might be: spending hour after hour with small tools in the hope of uncovering even the tiniest of insights in the earth. That analogy can be extended into the shared desire to create a narrative. Archeologists attempt to recreate the stories of history by digging up parts of a story; it's the same with data analysts. There are stories buried in the data; and it's up to the data analyst to uncover that narrative, piece it back together, and communicate that story to others. When it comes to data, with its unique blend of complexity and subtlety, nothing can tell a good story—a data story—like a well-crafted visualization.

A data story is built from several attributes, the two most important of which are truth and relevance. Although you can have a good story without truth, you cannot have a good data story without truth. You cannot affect meaningful and successful change if your stories are built on lies or half-truths. Therefore, you need all the skills to uncover the truth within the data, and then you need the visualization skills to be sure the story the reader perceives matches the story you uncovered. ...

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