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Quantifying Cyber Security: Using Quantitative Data to Measure Cyber Risk and Security

Quantifying Cyber Security

The Importance of Data Science in Cyber Security 

Cyber leaders are currently overwhelmed by the number of tools available to them in the current landscape. It feels like there is always something new and shiny that every business is supposed to need, when in fact, all most leaders want is full visibility over their security function and network. And the key to this is data, and more importantly somebody to really analyse and understand the relevant and important data. This has led to the introduction of Cyber Security Data Science. But what is this emerging discipling and how can it help Cyber teams and leaders.

Introducing Cyber Security Data Science (CSDS)

Cyber Security Data Science (CSDS) is an emerging profession born out of need from Cyber Security leaders. The profession focusses on applying data science to the prevention, detection and remediation of expanding and emerging cyber security threats. 

CSDS is highly data focussed and quantifies risk using quantitative and algorithmic methods to optimise cyber security operations through the provision of targeted and efficacious alerts and the categorisation of behavioural patterns. CSDS addresses cyber security from a data perspective and often uses analysis and machine learning to implement spam filtering, phishing email detection, malware and virus detection, network monitoring, and endpoint protection.

The challenge with CSDS, is that there isn’t a large talent pool for those specialising in cyber security and data science. This means that often, Cyber team leaders will have to hire data scientists and then train them in cyber security. Bringing in data scientists into the cyber security function will enable effective cross-collaboration for a smoother set of processes and quicker cyber security improvements. The end result will be process-driven teamwork across hybridized teams of CSDS professionals.  

CSDS should enable the measurement of cyber risk, which is a prerequisite to controlling and preventing exposure, improving alerting and triage, and generally optimizing cybersecurity detection and remediation operations.

Benefits of Cyber Security Data Science (CSDS)

Cyber Security, despite its importance, is often overlooked in businesses because of its expense and perception as a cost centre not a profit centre. So how can you show them how your security expenditure is reducing your business’s cyber risk and saving money and get them to really listen? The answer is data! Quantify your cyber security and provide them with tangible insights that they can understand.  Plus, if you are not measuring your cyber risk, you do not have the visibility and data to make informed decisions and could actually be spending your cyber budget inefficiently and facing unknown and undetected cyber risks. This will only reduce trust in the cyber team and will fail to gain investment from senior business leaders. Cyber leaders must embrace cyber risk quantification. 

The benefits of Using Data Science and Quantifying Cyber Risk

By measuring cyber security risks and by reporting on them in a language that is accessible to all stakeholders, businesses can: 

  • Understand and manage financial exposure to cyber risks.
  • Identify and prioritize remediation activities based on financial risk exposure.
  • Evaluate the ROI for proposed investments in cyber security technologies and services.
  • Clearly illustrate the importance of investment in cyber security, using real data, costs, and figures, which board members and decision makers can trust and act upon.
  • Qualify the need for cyber insurance.
  • Use enhanced visibility to make informed decisions on priorities, budget allocation and investments in new products and services.

Essentially, it has become increasingly important for cyber leaders to measure and report cyber risk in quantifiable and financial terms. It is therefore time to improve cyber risk management to aid decision-making and reporting using data science and analytics.

Data Science Meets Cyber Security

These two disciplines collide to create CSDS, a scientific approach to identifying hostile attacks on digital infrastructures by using data focused approaches. Implementing data science into cyber security gives cyber teams invaluable visibility, insights, and defence against potential breaches and attacks. So, data scientists give cyber security professionals the information and data that can better inform them how to identify, prevent, and counter cyber-attacks.

If you’re looking for your next Cyber Security or Data role, browse our current vacancies here, or get in touch with me directly for advice on your job search, or for support hiring top Cyber Security talent.