Information gathered from a company’s analytics and intelligence can be used to highlight and predict hazards, keeping you one step ahead of security risks
In today’s increasingly interconnected, instrumented and intelligent world, security is something we all need to be conscious of and play our part in protecting ourselves in our personal and business lives.
In the media – on any day of the week – the reality of widespread security threats and data loss is obvious to any reader. Confidential hospital patient records appear on the internet, hackers attack networks, and employees lose their laptops – along with the sensitive corporate data stored on them. Bank accounts are hacked, cloned or spoofed.
These are all real-world examples with legal, financial, and brand consequences. The openness and connectivity of the digital economy today provides huge opportunities, but it also creates new risks. Cloud and mobile computing are cost-effective ways for employees to access applications and data anytime, anywhere, but they can also lead to a loss of control over that data.
IBM believes the best way to get ahead of security threats is the fusion of analytics and automated controls. This is called security intelligence, which means the application of advanced analytics in conjunction with automated controls for the analysis of security information from hundreds of sources across an organisation. Sources such as networks, applications, user activity, mobile endpoints and physical security devices, such as badge readers, should all be leveraged to predict, prevent and detect breaches across the entire organisation.
IBM continues to make significant investment to strengthen its presence and capabilities in the security market. In October 2011, IBM acquired Q1 Labs and made their analytics engine the technological centerpiece of a new division, IBM Security Systems.
Based on discussions with thousands of executives about security over the years, three important steps must be taken to promote effective security practices:
Get informed. Take a structured approach to assessing business and IT risks. Security must be woven through an entire organisation and every part of a company needs to comply. Firms must identify key threats, compliance mandates, review existing security risks and challenges, implement risk management programs and plan and test incident management responses for when crisis hits.
Get aligned. Companies have to work with customers, employees, partners and auditors to put in place comprehensive security initiatives. For instance, businesses need to communicate with internal staff and external customers about policies for handling personal information and remain transparent when privacy breaches happen. When it comes to partners, companies need to work across the supply chain to develop and implement security standards and to develop programs for reporting on and managing risks as a normal part of business operations.
Get smart. Analytics is an organisation’s trump card when it comes to security. It can be used to highlight risks and identify, track, and tackle threats. Analytics can identify previous breach patterns and current threats and use this information to predict potential areas of attack. It can mine employees’ interactions with corporate systems to identify patterns of potential misuse, while monitoring the external environment for potential security threats, therefore providing a more complete picture of your risk exposure.
Martin Borrett is director of IBM’s Institute for Advanced Security
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