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Big data can help counter cyber attacks, says report

Out-Law News | 27 Apr 2015 | 3:16 pm | 1 min. read

Businesses that have improved their cyber security defences in the past two years have been more likely to turn to new security technologies than companies whose security performance has remained "static", a report by Accenture has found.

Accenture said new technologies such as 'big data' can help organisations tackle cyber attacks (19-page / 2.41MB PDF).

"Embracing innovative solutions will keep increasingly sophisticated and stealthy cyber criminals from attacking your company," Accenture said. "For example, big data analytics and shared threat intelligence can increase the organisation’s effectiveness in stopping cyber attacks."

The UK government defined 'big data' last year.

It said: "Big data refers to both large volumes of data with high level of complexity and the analytical methods applied to them which require more advanced techniques and technologies in order to derive meaningful information and insights in real time. Within this definition, there is a fundamental assumption about the power and importance of new techniques and technologies, which are often called ‘analytics’. The real value of analytics is that it can draw out new meanings, insights and value from bringing together individual datasets, which on their own might have limited value."

The Accenture report, based on a Ponemon Institute study of 237 organisations' cyber security effectiveness, said that 'leapfrog' companies – those who have "demonstrated at least 25% improvement in security effectiveness scoring over a period of two years" – "recognise the need for innovation to strengthen their security position and keep pace with evolving needs".

"The use of enabling and advanced technologies helps the leapfrog companies take a proactive stance to protect their networks and data," Accenture said. "Governance measures such as metrics, benchmarking, risk management procedures and ongoing communications with the C-suite and board of directors reflect the importance that the leapfrog organisations place on their security policies and programs."

So-called leapfrog companies are more likely to have an "officially sanctioned" security strategy, list information security as a business priority and have security objectives aligned with their business objectives than businesses whose security performance has remained static in the past two years, Accenture said.

Leapfrog companies are also more likely to outsource "core security operations", ensure security incidents are reported to the chief executive and board of directors and to share "threat intelligence" with others, it said.

The 'static' companies are more likely "emphasise compliance with regulations and policies" than leapfrog counterparts and focus their security efforts on preventing attacks, the study found.