If necessity is the mother of invention, then cybersecurity is the biggest baby Mother Invention has ever birthed. The headlines these days demonstrate the magnitude of the cybersecurity problem, but the data is even more telling. Data protection is becoming a key factor for security leaders’ cloud security strategies. The average company has to deal with 1.7 million security events each week, and one study conducted by IBM found that the cost of the average security breach is $3.5 million per breach.

One of the key ways IBM thinks the cyberthreat will be neutralized is through invention — and IBM has a long history in security invention. The company already has more than 3,000 security-related patents and is still investing and innovating. In fact, in 2014, IBM inventors drove a 40 percent uptick in security patents from the previous year.

Boosting Cloud Security Through Innovation

I am fortunate to be part of a global team of 6,000 security researchers, developers and subject-matter experts at IBM who are tackling one of the largest challenges the computing industry has ever faced. IBM also conducts security research and development at 29 locations worldwide and manages security for thousands of customers at 10 of its Security Operations Centers.

One IBM invention is U.S. patent No. 8,812,406, which I developed with a team of three other IBM inventors. It is an authentication model for cloud security that lets customers retain control of their data that is stored in applications on a public cloud. It warrants cloud providers to contact customers for a security code to gain access to their information.

We are all using the cloud, and businesses are feeling pressure to protect our data and their own data. In fact, a new IBM study of nearly 150 chief information security officers found that while 85 percent say their organizations are now moving to the cloud, almost half of them expect a major cloud provider to experience a breach.

Patents such as this one help solve the real-world cloud security challenge that is inhibiting cloud computing growth. IBM’s investment in research and development is producing innovations that continue to advance the company’s cloud computing and security leadership. Over the past five years, IBM has more than doubled its annual output of patents for game-changing technologies such as security, cloud, analytics, mobile and social.

Year after year, IBM’s inventors continue to prove that this is a golden age of innovation. However, cybercriminals are also part of this golden age and are quickly finding ways to circumvent legacy approaches for securing businesses and people. This is why inventing new approaches to security is the only way the cycle will be broken. I am proud to be on the side of the “good guys” in this fight and remain optimistic that, with time, Mother Invention’s latest crop of inventions will provide the edge needed in the fight against cybercriminals.

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