Paul Roberts: How Machine Learning Supplements Security Workforce

“One of the ways companies are compensating increasingly (for the current IT employment shortfall) is with machine learning and artificial intelligence, as a way to do more with less,” says Paul Roberts, Editor-in-Chief at The Security Ledger, in our conversation at the 2017 RSA Conference in San Francisco.

Roberts was referring to the current and urgent shortage of skilled security professionals in the IT industry. Even if a company or enterprise doesn’t have the essential staff they need, they still need to maintain security, and automation appears to be the most successful technique used to bridge that gap.

Watch the full video interview with Paul Roberts here:

So how can a company start taking steps in the right direction, in terms of automation? “Do more automation in terms of taking in some of the data feeds, making sense of them, and then handing up issues to human operators to respond to and act in a way that only humans can at this point,” advises Roberts.

Regarding the endpoint protection space, Roberts noted that there has been a general move away from the signature-based detection of malware, as more and more companies switch to employing behavioral detection. Behavioral detection has been used by banks for years to help them spot unusual patterns in spending and location, which can be a hallmark of banking fraud. This is where machine learning (ML) comes into play. ML in essence watches users, creates a profile, and then notes anomalies in behavior, alerting human staff that action may be needed.

The next step is artificial intelligence where computers, not humans, can take action on that ‘noticed’ behavior.

However, until AI is put more squarely in the driver’s seat and is allowed to take over more responsibility, machine learning provides the context of behavior and its relations to other elements so that the analyst has a full profile to do their work. This goes far beyond an analyst receiving an anomalous alert with no contextual insight.

About the Author

David Spark is a veteran tech journalist and founder of Spark Media Solutions. Since 1996, Spark and his articles have appeared in more than 40 media outlets including eWEEK, Wired News, PCWorld, ABC Radio, John C. Dvorak’s “Cranky Geeks,” KQED’s “This Week in Northern California,” and TechTV (formerly ZDTV). Spark is also the author of the book, “Three Feet from Seven Figures: One-on-One Engagement Techniques to Qualify More Leads at Trade Shows.” Today, Spark blogs regularly on the Spark Minute and is a regular contributor for Forbes. Spark is a noted speaker, entertainer, and moderator at tech and marketing events.