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Security Developments: It’s All About Analytics

Analytics is everywhere. It is on the news, in sports, and of course, part of the 2016 US elections.  I recently attended the RSA Conference 2016, an important trade show for security software solutions, because I wanted to see how security vendors were using analytics to improve their offerings. Roaming through hall after hall of exhibits, I saw some interesting trends worth sharing.

One of the first things I noticed was how many times analytics was mentioned in the signage of different vendors. I also noticed a wide range of dashboards showing all different types of security data. (With this many dashboards you’d think you were at a BI conference!)

You see, security is no longer just about providing anti-virus and anti-malware protection in a reactive mode. Security vendors are utilizing cybersecurity and biometric data to try to understand and mount defenses in real-time when an attack is happening. To do this, they need to analyze large amounts of data.

This made me realize what some analysts are predicting. It isn’t the data that has the value, it is the proprietary algorithms.

Smarter Analytics = Stronger Security

This is definitely true in the security space. Many vendors are providing the same types of service; one of the ways they can differentiate themselves is the algorithms they use to analyze the data. They have to gather a large amount of data to get baselines of network traffic. Then they use algorithms to analyze data in real-time to understand if something is happening out of the norm.

They hope to spot when an attack is happening at a very early stage, so they can take action to stop and limit damage before it can shut down a customer’s network or website. This is why algorithms are important. Two different products may be looking at the same data, but one detects an attack before the other.

This, to me, has big data analytics written all over it.

Security vendors are also paying attention to analytics from the IoT (Internet of Things). A typical corporate data security application gathers a lot of data from different devices – network routers and switches, servers, or workstations, just to name a few. The security app will look at traffic patterns and do deep packet inspection of what is in the packets.

An example would be understanding what type of request is coming to a specific server: What port is it asking for and where did the request originate from?  This could help you understand if someone is starting a DoS (Denial of Service) attack of probing for a back door into your network or server.

What can we learn from the trends on display at RSA this year? I think they show how analytics can help any business, in any industry. Dashboards are still very popular and efficient in displaying data to users to allow them to understand what is happening, and then make business decisions based on that data. And, not all advanced analytic tools are equal, beecause it is not about the data but whether their algorithms can help you use that data to understand what is happening, and make better business decisions.

OpenText Analytics provides a great platform for businesses to create analytic applications, and use data to make better decisions faster. To get an idea of what OpenText Analytics can do, take a look at our Election Tracker ’16 app.

 

About Brian Combs

Brian Combs
Brian is Senior Market Analyst for OpenText Analytics and a tech specialist with a passion for innovation. In the software industry for over 20 years, Brian brings tremendous experience and insights to the field of business analytics.