Can Data Analytics Improve Cyber Security?

Information security managers today have a full plate. With interconnectivity as the guiding principle of modern businesses, organizations are pulsing with one-click transactions. As a result, IT security professionals became “crisis persons” who need to find solutions in emergency situations, and present flawless metrics and decision making. The former US President, Barack Obama, has named cyber threat one of the most serious economic and national security challenges, while then-FBI Director Robert Mueller believed it would surpass terrorism as the country’s number one threat.

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Growth comes at a price

Information technology and the Internet came with a remarkable growth, but they have also exposed companies to risks whose nature changes every day, and could originate from every corner of the globe. In such an environment, cyber security managers have a difficult task of making quick, accurate and timely decisions at the enterprise level. Still, with combination of data analytics and cyber security, they can generate business intelligence necessary for reducing the risks.

Role of data analytics

Data analytics helps with streamlining and channelling large amounts of information into a single screen dashboard that gives security professionals a concise and meaningful display of the information security across the company. In other words, that dashboard is a real-time snapshot of the company’s key cybersecurity indicators. One of its main advantages is that it can be customized to display information in an organized manner. The job of a cybersecurity manager becomes much easier, because the dashboard does all the ‘explaining’. The power behind information security dashboards comes from the design that is only limited by a company’s specific requirements.

Costs of cybersecurity

It is no secret that companies’ annual expenditures on cyber security are seconded only by those of federal agencies. Keeping record of information security investments and their performance is a job of CISOs, who are often questioned by management about where the information security budget is being spent and how effectively. A customized cybersecurity board can even perform this task, with the additional information that helps with decision-making. Spending can be highlighted on a dashboard by area, as well as its impact on specific objectives. Effectively, such a dashboard analyses how well the money is being spent and measures the security program performance.

Information trail

An essential step in taking a company’s cybersecurity to a higher level is to closely examine and file the location, origin and destination of information, as well as where it gets destroyed when no longer needed. Data analytics can design a dashboard for exactly such a task. In addition, once a dashboard is designed, the process becomes automated, where the manager’s only job is to monitor the dashboard. New information is updated, while destroyed information can be logged and presented on the dashboard if needed. Keeping track of transit information used to be a difficult task for cybersecurity officers, but it can now be monitored on a single dashboard.

Real-time decisions

The cybersecurity arena is packed with new threats every day, with the solutions for those threats usually becoming available within days. Software vendors who own the source code that runs operating systems, networks and applications are able to provide patches for emerging vulnerabilities. With the popularity of mobile computing on the constant rise, those vulnerabilities are spilling regularly onto the mobile scene, as well. A customized BI dashboard can provide the staff with real time snapshots of the most significant vulnerabilities that even specify the type of platform, software and technical infrastructure used. Enhanced even more, the dashboard can help the organization make decisions of new technical infrastructure purchases and the retirement of old infrastructure.

What if… scenarios

Especially when it comes to sectors like cybersecurity, organizations face daily ‘what if’ questions. They can originate from increasing or decreasing the budget, implications caused by reorganization, or even changing the size and composition of a cybersecurity team. Customized dashboards can be fitted with ‘policy levers’ designed to move action in a particular direction on a gradable scale. Using this new information, a dashboard can perform a real-time analysis of company dynamics and depict possible outcomes as answers to many ‘what if’ questions.

Every organization is a unique system with its inherent metrics and indicators. Highly customized and tailored cybersecurity dashboards are crucial to data analytics and business intelligence in this busy sector.

Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and regular contributor to Technivorz.

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