Big data could improve online security

One of the main issues for companies utilizing IT systems in the current economic climate is the ongoing threat of internet security and how best to ensure files and other documents are protected from harm.

According to RSA Conference US program chair Hugh Thompson, more needs to be done to ensure businesses and independent operators are kept safe against cybercrime – and big data analytics could be used to help.

Mr Thompson, who is the author of the Plateau Effect, said a one-size-fits-all approach to internet security is dated, compared to other innovative industries that cater directly to each individual user.

He said: "When we think about security, it should be something that truly adapts to individual risk. And we've seen that happen in other industries."

The expert, whose comments were reported by ZD Net, used the example of the ecommerce and insurance sectors, which have already personalized their products and services to the profiles and behavior of each customer.

Included in this category is Amazon, where a different homepage is provided for users depending on information the retailer already has about them.

This example, Mr Thomspon added, can also be carried to the insurance industry – where companies offer different premiums according to a customer's history, risk profile and home address.

Therefore, security companies that utilize predictive analytics to examine the online behavior of their customers are more likely to succeed.

Speaking at the RSA Conference Asia Pacific in Singapore last week, Mr Thompson noted that adopting an enhanced model of security that caters to each individual customer's needs paves the way for an "ideal world, where security does its job".

However, the expert noted that in order for this technique to be successful, users need to be able to carry out their daily IT tasks without the constant reminder that their behaviour is being monitored.

Mr Thompson explained: "I'd ask you to challenge yourself and say, 'What would the world look like if we're actually able to pull off some of these techniques? What will the experience for the end user look like?'"