Early in November, I spoke to an audience of more than 400 professionals at the Payments U.K. Cyber Security and Fraud Seminar. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, not least for the fantastic acoustics in the oak-paneled auditorium and the challenging questions that the extremely engaged audience threw my way via Nicholas Witchell, a British journalist and newscaster for BBC News, who served as compere.


Cognitive Computing Is the Future of Security

My presentation focused on cognition and the future of security. I was able to share my insights and discuss the exciting innovations that IBM Security has made in this space. The event coincided with the day that the new U.K. Chancellor, Philip Hammond, confirmed the government’s £1.9 billion cybersecurity program for the next five years — very timely indeed.

To set the scene, I discussed the evolution of security, from the pre-2005 moats-and-castles approach of continuously building defenses, to today’s common practice of leveraging security intelligence. We are now entering the Cognitive Era, which provides us with an opportunity to accelerate investigation and response times and reduce the cost and complexity of dealing with cybercrime.

Security teams continue to face an onslaught of serious challenges as threats and fraudulent activities grow in sophistication and volume. With new technologies and strategies, organizations need to think differently about security and ensure that they take a coordinated and sophisticated approach to outsmart attackers, secure their business and improve enterprise risk.

Adapting to the Cognitive Era

To help companies prepare for the Cognitive Era, IBM Security is developing Watson for Cyber Security to help security analysts gain powerful insights, leverage threat research and drive better outcomes through a trusted adviser, in turn enabling better human decision-making.

Watson uses cognitive technology to find, analyze and understand the massive amounts of structured and unstructured security data that overwhelm even the best of today’s security professionals. It exploits data mining, machine learning, natural language processing and human-computer interaction to understand, reason and learn the same way people do.

I am often asked whether this type of technology will replace humans, and my answer remains the same: We will always need human involvement in our quest to protect, detect and respond to security breaches. Security intelligence remains essential — applying cognitive solutions to the effort enhances the analyst’s abilities, providing actionable information with speed and scale like never before. This enables organizations to make faster and more informed decisions. Cognitive security will also help to bridge the skills gap in the industry.

It’s time to adapt to the Cognitive Era.

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