11 Jan How Predictive Analytics Can Stop Security Threats In Their Tracks
The more things change, the more they stay the same: Cybersecurity remains a major challenge for businesses across the globe as we roll into the new year. Threats seem to lurk behind every corner, from ransomware and phishing campaigns to distributed denial-of-service attacks. Even promising technological developments like the Internet of Things present unforeseen cybersecurity concerns, creating new endpoints and vulnerabilities to contend with.
It’s enough to make even the most seasoned security officer feel a bit overwhelmed at times. There is a path forward, though: Predictive analytics can help cybersecurity professionals anticipate data breaches before they occur, giving them an edge over cybercriminals in this continually escalating battle.
New year, same cybersecurity problems
What can cybersecurity professionals expect in 2018? More of the same, unfortunately. Ransomware continues to be an alarmingly effective tool for cybercriminals, and there’s no reason to think they are going to let up on those types of attacks until organizations can put up a formidable defense. A December 2017 study, jointly created by Barkly, Cybersecurity Insiders and Crowd Research Partners revealed some troubling figures regarding the current state of ransomware:
- 80 percent of cybersecurity professionals consider ransomware to be a moderate-to-extreme threat to business operations.
- 80 percent believe the threat of ransomware will continue to grow over the course of 2018.
- 33 percent reported falling victim to a ransomware attack.
- Of those, 75 percent experienced as many as five separate incidents in the past 12 months.
Ransomware is just one attack vector, of course. DDoS attacks can overwhelm company networks in moments, bringing down critical assets and applications, or even misdirecting IT resources while a data breach commences elsewhere. Phishing schemes remain an evergreen threat to business data, as well, taking advantage of employees’ poor security posture to infiltrate systems.
All of that is to say you shouldn’t expect the threat of cybercrime – or its associated costs – to abate anytime soon. According to a recent Cybersecurity Ventures report, global annual cybersecurity-related expenses will reach $6 trillion by 2021.
Where predictive analytics can help
Cybersecurity professionals aren’t just resting on their laurels, of course. The entire community continuously works to address known vulnerabilities and develop consistent defenses against the most pressing malware threats. Predictive analytics present incredible opportunities to anticipate breach attempts and stop network intrusions in their tracks.
One important consideration to keep in mind is the industry’s shift from breach prevention to detection. Many cybersecurity veterans would argue that 100-percent intrusion prevention is a pipe dream and that organizations are better off assuming they will experience a breach sooner or later.
Predictive analytics can identify where the next breach is most likely to occur.
Moreover, because zero-day threats and other malicious activity may not be readily identified by signature-based defense, a more effective approach is to improve internal monitoring functions to identify suspicious behavior on your network or within your system. That’s why security information and event management solutions have become so popular in recent years. They give companies a way to watch out for activity that might suggest foul play is afoot.
Predictive analytics can take these capabilities a step further, reviewing available data to identify where the next breach is most likely to occur and how it will be conducted. Given how quickly this industry changes and how sophisticated cybercriminals are becoming, the benefits of consistently anticipating the next threat cannot be overstated. Getting there won’t happen overnight, however, and companies will need the right tools to make these predictive analytics applications a reality.
Building toward the future
Your event data stream will likely be ground-zero for any cybersecurity analysis, so having a lightning-fast event data warehouse will be absolutely paramount. Because the amount of information companies gather, access and store continues to grow – thanks in part to the rise of big data – companies will need warehouses capable of accounting for vast quantities of data. Since big data isn’t just large in scale, but extensive in terms of data types, a viable event data warehouse must be able to process and store many different kinds of information, regardless what format it is in.
The future may present significant cybersecurity challenges, but companies can begin laying their defensive foundation today. Predictive analytics will almost certainly play a part in tomorrow’s cybersecurity best practices, so don’t delay making the proper preparations.