Big Data & Analytics Heroes

Richard Stiennon

Security Industry Analyst and Author
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Richard Stiennon

"The bigger the data, the more benefit to be derived...Applying analytics, predetermined algorithms to extract intelligence, is the primary way to get ROI."

Richard Stiennon is a veteran of the security industry, and as an industry analyst he has gained years of experience advising enterprises, vendors and government agencies on their security strategies. Stiennon is the author of Surviving Cyberwar and There Will Be Cyberwar. Cyber attacks are a real and ever-present threat that behooves all of us to employ every tool, including analytics, to minimize cyber threats.

How are big data and analytics changing business strategy today?

Big data and analytics are causing every business to examine the un-mined wealth they have from years of experience, either with their own processes or with what they know about their customers. Often they are finding that their data is more valuable than their core business.

How are the Internet of Things, wearable devices and analytics impacting citizen privacy?

In the aggregate, big data derived from wearable devices is proving to be a treasure trove for healthcare, retailers and transportation. Individually, we are all threatened by that data being abused, either by the companies we grant access to or by governments and hackers that see value in tracking us.

What are the biggest security challenges we face from big data and analytics?

The biggest challenges are around discerning between intended use and secondary use. Aggregating and mining for intelligence are benefits. Targeting individuals or exposing them are threats to privacy and safety.

Do we need to stop innovating and producing data to stem cyber attacks? Why or why not?

No. We need to secure and anonymize data in aggregate. That way we can derive the benefits while leaving the link analysis and targeting out of the loop.

What are the official roles of artificial intelligence and cognitive machine learning in building stronger cyber defense?

How important are attribution and motivation in stemming cyber attacks?

Only when a military or diplomatic response to a cyber attack is contemplated do we need very high levels of assurance for attribution. Most organizations can focus on techniques, technology and procedures to devise their defensive strategies. Detect, respond, harden first. Attribution can help get additional resources for defense though. The C-suite will react quickly if they know a nation state is after their critical data.

When considering how big data and analytics can really deliver on return on investment (ROI), what is the market still missing?

The bigger the data, the more benefit there is to be derived; although, there are diminishing returns. Applying analytics, predetermined algorithms to extract intelligence, is the primary way to get ROI. Tools to allow fast hunting through link analysis are needed to track down uniquely targeted attacks.

Cybersecurity is a real issue challenging our governments, hospitals, and schools. How we counter and mitigate cyber attacks today will help shape our world tomorrow.


Planning to attend Insight 2015? Attend the session The Awakening of Cyber Analysis: An Intelligence-driven Solution to Security and Risk to learn more on how we can counter and mitigate cyber attacks. Haven't registered for IBM Insight 2015 yet? Register today—it's not too late! Don't forget to learn more about IBM solutions for government, education and healthcare before you get onsite.