A look ahead for analytics technology's place in IT security

Brought to you by the Villanova School of Business

Analytics have improved business processes in a variety of industries and for countless different applications, with new solutions emerging all the time. One area where big data will be increasingly crucial is in cyber security. Protecting information systems is an essential part of keeping an organization running at its best and maintaining the trust of customers or clients.

Businesses and financial institutions are discovering ways to institute more effective IT security measures by drawing on the perspective offered by data analytics. In turn, individuals who have an education in the tools and processes for gathering and interpreting quantitative information will find opportunities to grow their careers by stopping threats. For students in business analytics master’s programs, developing an understanding of how their specialized knowledge can be used to safeguard vulnerabilities in systems will pay off in the long term.

Finding patterns of danger

Businesses today must be constantly alert for hackers who seek to compromise systems for purposes such as identity theft or extortion. Specialists in business analytics can bring valuable intelligence to cyber security by tracking threats over time and picking out patterns. With the right strategies and processes, an organization gains insight into what actions are potential signs of cyber attacks, fraudulent transactions or data breaches.

Business analytics experts have the necessary knowledge and training to gather, store and analyze data on the functioning of the organization’s systems. This allows them to see indications of illicit activities like brute-force attacks, Distributed Denial of Service attacks or phishing. Over time, they can become aware of the most vital warning signs and vulnerabilities for the company’s particular set of risks.

For instance, monitoring user behavior may reveal anomalies in how certain individuals are working within the system. Analytics experts get to know how systems process data, understanding how the technology at a business functions under normal circumstances. From there, they can use specialized tools to monitor for indications that data is being compromised and take action faster.

Implementing security measures

Based on the information gathered by business analytics experts, an organization is able to put in place security solutions tailored to its business requirements and weak points. Establishing a safer information environment takes a business-wide commitment, and data plays an important role in finding the best ways to keep unauthorized individuals out. Analytics professionals are prepared to recommend enhanced procedures and tools, explain the strategy to stakeholders in various departments, and put those countermeasures into action.

Strengthening cyber security begins with keeping all software and hardware up to date and engaging in regular maintenance. Advanced authentication measures, routine disposal of information that is no longer needed and continuous assessment of current risks are all key aspects of a defensive strategy. Training workers throughout the company to detect phishing and social-engineering tactics and to immediately report any suspicious contacts can go a long way to stopping unauthorized individuals from gaining systems access.

Business analytics allows a company to take further steps in protecting itself. A data-based approach brings capabilities for predicting, isolating and stopping harmful user behavior or detecting fraud as it happens. With real-time awareness of dangers, an organization is able to move quickly with actions like instituting a new rule for an intrusion or denial-of-service prevention system, closing down a firewall or restricting use of an application.

Planning for the next threat

Hackers are constantly changing tactics, adapting to new security measures. Persistent threats can lay in wait for long periods before any problem is detected. These dangers are the reasons why a security policy empowered by analytics is so essential for today’s businesses. Detection systems drawing on techniques like machine learning and data mining to sniff out attacks will only become more integral to how companies operate on a daily basis.

Organizations realize that the danger of cyber attacks is not going away, and that makes individuals with the necessary training to predict and fend off intruders highly valuable. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for information security analysts was $92,600 in 2016. However, demand is quickly growing for specialists in this field, especially if they have the latest knowledge in analytics to prepare a powerful, long-term defensive strategy.

Preparing for security threats takes an advanced education in the latest big-data techniques and tools. That’s where the Villanova University data analytics master’s program comes in, offering a deep understanding of how quantitative information can turn into powerful insights for an organization’s protection and business goals alike. Visit the program page to learn more about how earning this degree will prepare you for the data-driven jobs emerging today.

  Recommended Readings: Sources:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212567115010771

http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/global-shortfall-of-1.8-million-cyber-security-workers-expected-by-2022.html

https://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/articles/risk-fraud/the-case-for-cybersecurity-analytics.html#

http://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/security-embraces-advanced-analytics-and-machine-learning/

http://www.csoonline.com/article/2942083/big-data-security/cybersecurity-is-the-killer-app-for-big-data-analytics.html

http://www.networkworld.com/article/2166806/infrastructure-management/security-analytics-will-be-the-next-big-thing-in-it-security.html

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm