Blog · 30 Oct 2019

Proactive security and AI: this year's Cyber Security Month

A summary of the key themes of cyber awareness month

Kevin Brown
Managing Director, BT Security

Keeping your organisation secure is a never-ending task, with new security challenges to tackle every minute of every day.

That's my key takeaway as we come to the end of October and National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Having spoken to numerous global customers, and had feedback from BT's attendance at events like Govware Singapore and Assises de la Sécurité, Monaco, it's clear to me that security, like learning, is an ongoing process that requires a proactive approach.

A proactive stance

The security threats we face today are rapidly evolving and the future is full of uncertainty. As IoT and cloud computing push global enterprises' data flows into vaster, faster environments, “know your enemy” must be your first line of defence. In such a fast-paced and unknown environment, you need to be able to predict where digital threats will come from and prepare to ward these off before they can impact your organisation. It's only by building awareness of the ever-changing cyber landscape and its imminent dangers that you can get ahead of these threats and put effective security in place.

Best practice for a breach

While it may sound defeatist, it's very important for organisations to prepare for a future in which a cyber-breach is inevitable. An incident response strategy covering technical, communicative and legislative measures is the only way to make sure your organisation can respond effectively to a cyber breach and then make a full recovery.

Without this in place, you risk a slew of negative headlines and significant brand damage. Running a black swan event, a data breach test that models a worst-case scenario for your departments, is one of the best ways to prepare for a cyber breach. It not only gives oversight of your current defences, but also allows you to test your response and follow-on protocols in a pre-emptive manner. That means, when a breach inevitably does occur, your organisation is ready to respond in the most effective way.

AI is the future of security

Finding the best way for your security team to cut through the noise of increasingly busy networks is crucial for early threat detection and getting ahead of potential attacks. One of the most effective ways to create a robust defence strategy is by incorporating AI into your cyber security. Using AI, in collaboration with human decision-making, means combining the speed and accuracy of machine learning, with the brilliance of the human mind.

AI's capacity to spot near-invisible anomalies among a mass of innocuous data is increasing — keeping the security industry on its toes finding ways to mitigate insider and outside threats. It's only by training analysts and machines to work together that organisations will be able to, not only identify threats in time but also take fast, decisive and defensive action against them.

The year of staying ahead

By October 2020, the next National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the threat landscape will have changed immeasurably once again, so it's important to stay vigilant and proactive in the face of the myriad cyber-security threats organisations face and take advantage of all emerging opportunities that can help your cyber-security strategy.

Here at BT, as the provider of one of the largest networks in the world, we have a unique vantage point on the cyber environment. We process over three billion events an hour into our cyber-security platform and we analyse, and understand traffic and data flows across public and corporate networks around the clock. Take a look at our Cyber Index, our information sharing platform, to discover more of the key trends and events we've identified that require defensive action. And download our eBook for more information on how to keep your organisation safe.