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The Role of Big Data in Cyber Security

Many of us have been paying attention to the news lately. With the election and inauguration in every headline, and the idea of foreign governments once again being involved in data exfiltration looming on the forefront of everyone’s minds, it is almost like the United States Government (USG) and political officials have barely progressed their cyber security defenses since the highly publicized breach that left so many federal employees at risk.

Fortunately for the USG -- and the rest of us – technology in the private sector has not remained stagnant. There have been massive advancements across the board as the big data technology lane continues to mature. And with the Executive Order on President Trump’s desk pushing for harder punishments for agency heads who are compromised and incorporating cyber security in school curriculum, I can’t help but think that the USG may finally catch up in this department.

I am of the firm belief that we cannot have enough investment in this field.

We’ve seen companies sprout up across the US looking into machine learning at an increased pace and with a wide range of applications, from targeting insider threat with Splunk’s User Behavior Analytics, to the continued expansion of community driven and open source Apache Spark.  These investments go much farther than other heavy hitters in the technology industry.

With this type of automation empowering the traditional Security Information and Event Management systems (SIEMs), the daily security officers have a better arsenal of tools to proactively spot those malicious insider threats or any compromised system faster than the 100+ day norm.

At the end of the day, ensuring your home computer is safe is something every person should be aware of and have an understanding how to do it. The more education we have in this realm, the better.  But as a country, we have the right to know that our own, personal information is safe with our governments, they cannot continue to put the citizens are put at risk. Spotting threats and breaches is no longer akin to looking for a needle in a haystack, thanks to tools for operational intelligence, business analytics, insider threat detection.

Government data centers churn out immeasurable amounts of data each day. Why aren’t more agencies using their data more purposefully to make more efficient and effective business decisions? With these new tools and resources widely available, the USG has no excuse and no more room for error.