How Big Data and Advanced Analytics Can Amplify Security Intelligence

October 29, 2014
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2 min read

Amplifying Security Intelligence

Hello from IBM Insight 2014 in Las Vegas. The event is amazing and has allowed me to meet with our clients and business partners to discuss how security has become an integral part of big data analytics strategies.

When I walk through the casinos, I see people all having fun trying to beat the odds, whether they are playing blackjack or roulette. However, I am also reminded that security is not a game, and it’s an area where you can’t afford to lose. IBM X-Force’s trend and risk research reported that 2012 saw a 40 percent increase in security breaches, while 2013 saw over 500 million records breached. Moreover, a recent Ponemon study states that on average, the odds of having a material data breach involving more than 10,000 records is higher than 22 percent over a two-year period.

In addition to the media coverage a breach could cause, there is also a large amount of money at risk, even by Vegas standards. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data beach is $3.5 million. Remember, this is just the average, so think about the cost of some of the large-scale security breaches you have read about in the news recently. The attack chain is real and becomes more sophisticated all the time. New approaches to security are needed, and at IBM Security, we have been working hard to stay ahead of the threat.

I am currently presenting to the Insight attendees on why security intelligence has become a big data challenge. The following are three key components of a successful information technology security strategy:


Intelligence is about using advanced security analytics and big data to gain deep insights into an organization’s security posture. Today, we need to go beyond logs, events and alerts. We need to apply security intelligence and big data analytics to more types of information, including email and social activity, full-packet and Domain Name System captures, business process data, external threat feeds such as IBM X-Force, malwae information, network flows and anomalies. Once we’ve applied these analytics to more data sources, we need new investigative tools such as Incident Forensics that can quickly and easily gather evidence, reconstruct potentially malicious activity, determine root cause and help prevent future recurrences.


The integration of individual security tools into comprehensive solutions is another approach that can help us stay ahead of the threat. Through the deployment of integrated solutions, we can optimize security investments by correlating and analyzing information that resides in silos, allowing for automated detection and responses to threats. This integration allows the latest information about exploits, vulnerabilities and malware to be accessed by security solutions across domains, providing greater threat protection.


Innovation means using new techniques to proactively implement and optimize security for the cloud, big data, social and mobile, allowing them to be deployed more rapidly and securely. Most importantly, these security measures should be embedded on Day 1, allowing mobile devices to be more secure than laptops, the cloud more secure than data centers, social more secure than email and big data more secure than databases.

To learn more on the above, please take the time to view my presentation.



Sandy Bird
IBM Fellow, CTO for IBM Security

Sandy Bird was the co-founder and CTO of Q1 Labs, now part of IBM. Today, he's the CTO for IBM Security and is responsible for the company's strategic techno...
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