I was once told at school that making a few jokes, or comments in class was disruptive, it changed the pattern of the normal, of the familiar, of the tried and tested. I’d prefer to think of comments that question, even if it’s in a jovial sense as insightful and broadens the topic of discussion. Perhaps I was a generation too early as in the current IT climate, in fact in the current climate in general, disruption is seen as a good thing. Tesla is disrupting the car market, Uber is disrupting Taxi firms and AirB&B is disrupting how people find a bed to sleep in on their travels.
There is no doubt about it that cyber security is a disrupting force across the business landscape. It has little respect for a business size, its reputation, its market, or its customers. The threat of cyber is forcing companies to take a long hard review of all of its polices, processes, staff training and technology. In years to come computer historians will label this era in computing as the ‘cyber years’. But it won’t always be this way. Disruptive technologies from Television, to Social Media, all of which have been accused of unsettling the status quo of life, eventually have their threats diluted and just become part of life, or business, ‘as normal’. The website GovTech echoed this sentiment this week with their conversation around how ‘Cybersecurity Will Soon Just Be Security’
They have envisaged a future world where one of their scenarios is that cyber security will become the master problem of the Internet era. They ask us to imagine a time when the dominant names of today’s internet lose their lustre and decide to cash in on the only digital assets they have – which would include “names, birthdays, social connections — even the shapes of their faces, collected every time friends tag one another in photos”. Your current and future digital assets will be as precious and of as much value to you as your physical assets of today. Hence cyber security in the future after its initial disruptive nature has been calmed will just become part of our everyday lives.
A similarly disruptive technology that is garnering a great deal of attention at the moment is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Similarly, to other disruptive technologies it is being seen as both a solution to all mankind’s woes and the biggest threat to our survival as a species. It will unlikely meet either of those extremes but will settle somewhere in the more centralist field of technology adoption. The application of AI to combatting cyber security threats is gathering pace and generating great interest.
With the very fluid nature of cyber threats an equally fluid defence is paramount. AI offers this as it is capable of monitoring, analysing and responding to millions of scenarios far faster than any human based system can. The results it finds then enhances it cognitive system, allowing it to increase its understanding and effectiveness over time. Which is the opposite of most other software systems that have a tendency to appear to lose performance as the operators become more skilled in its functional nuances.
IBM with its Watson AI solution is leading the charge on AI solutions for cyber security and they have recently released a new cloud based version of this solution. CIO magazine reported on this new release and quotes IBM as stating “IBM efforts are designed to improve security analysts’ capabilities using cognitive systems that automate the connections between data, emerging threats and remediation strategies.”
They also point out that this system will offer recommendations on how to mitigate emerging threats, but stops short of self-implementation. I have to assume that it will still require human approval at some point. With humans still involved in the decision making loop suggests that this disruptive technology may not be as disruptive as initially thought. Quite the opposite, it sounds like a compelling solution.
Perhaps if my jokes and comments in class had been given a bit more consideration then over time they may have been seen not as negatively disruptive, but positively disruptive. Well, that’s how I like to now see it, but I bet my former teachers still see it differently.
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