A Human-Software Hybrid Is Essential to Keeping Cyber Threats at Bay

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With more and more of our interactions and transactions now taking place online, it’s no surprise that cyber-crime is growing by the day. Opportunistic hackers will seek any opportunity to infiltrate your company’s network and access its sensitive information – and the methods employed to do so are evolving and adapting all the time. It’s an adversarial contest between threat actors and defenders, where one is continually trying to outsmart the other with new tricks and stratagems.

Thankfully, the recent progress in technological innovation has made an all-but impossible task that little bit easier. The incredible processing capabilities of machines mean that software can now sift through haystacks of data to pinpoint the needle trying to thread its way in – but the machine can’t do its job alone. At present, computers might possess the scalability to handle incredible amounts of information, but they don’t have the savvy to interpret them effectively… which is why a human-software hybrid is essential to keeping cyber threats at bay.

Complementary Capabilities

Viewed objectively, the human mind is a far more sophisticated piece of machinery than any computer could hope to be. But while capable of complex thinking and inventive insight, it’s unable to comprehend outsized caches of data and comes with a high price-tag. Furthermore, cyber security solutions dreamt up by a real-life person invariably rely upon a pre-existing set of rules and regulations. If an out-of-the-box-thinking hacker can circumvent these rules, he can bypass the system and gain access to the company’s most valued assets.

AI, on the other hand, depends upon a system of anomaly detection. It can scan massive amounts of data with ease and cherry-pick the items which appear out of place… but in doing so, it invariably raises a huge number of false positives, or instances which it believes to be malicious but which really aren’t. Regardless of their actual threat levels, a human is still forced to investigate each and every one, creating a heavy workload and eroding trust in the machine’s ability to do its task properly. Together, though, the disparate qualities of each can meld to create something far more powerful than the sum of its parts.

Too many silver bullets

Notwithstanding these clear teething problems, there are a multitude of companies out there marketing umpteen cyber security software solutions, each one promising its users the moon and more. For the conscientious business owner who wants to protect his online assets but doesn’t have a huge amount of expertise in the sector – or a blank cheque to pay for these high-tech products and services – the proliferation of choice can muddy the waters. Which one is best-placed to boost your business’ unique security needs? Which one will take the strain off your human workforce and free them up for more profitable tasks?

The simple answer is that none of them can replace a real-life person entirely. However, the two entities can work in tandem to achieve far more robust defences than either could manage alone. By highlighting anomalous cases which require attention, the machine can cut through the noise and find possible sources. Humans can then verify whether or not these are false positives and feed those conclusions back into the algorithm, thus improving results next time round. In this way, the pair can identify potential threats and implement necessary responses seamlessly together.

Optimisation can’t be automated

Technology is a marvellous thing and assists with improving efficiency and optimisation in all manner of industries. Just look at agriculture, for example. The use of drones to monitor farms remotely, advanced sensors to gauge soil quality and automatic planting machines to keep back-breaking labour to a minimum are all superb steps forward for the agricultural community, allowing levels of precision and control that simply weren’t possible ten (or even five) years ago.

But no matter how forward-thinking and progressive these innovations are, they still can’t replace the years of experience and intuitive nous of the farmer himself. It’s only when a human eye is cast over the reams of data and a human hand controls the gear stick that the puzzle comes together. The same is true for cyber security; in order to cultivate and nurture an online infrastructure that is free to grow to its full potential whilst still being protected from external elements and actors, collaboration between the man and the machine is vital.

A load off your mind

Of course, both parts of the equation need to be up-to-scratch in order to achieve optimum results. A robust software package is necessary to meet the unique demands of your business, while a security professional well-versed in all aspects of cyber-crime prevention is instrumental in overseeing its operation. Unfortunately, both of these can come with a hefty price tag that many SMEs simply can’t afford.

That’s where Quorum Cyber comes in. As a team of inquisitive and intelligent cyber-security experts that was born neither in the software-only camp nor the human-only one, but somewhere in the middle of that overlapping Venn diagram, we’re better placed than anyone to provide the experience, expertise and resources key to beefing up your company’s online defences. Equipped to oversee the entire security process, from threat detection to defence optimisation and everything in between, we’re a one-stop-shop for all your cyber-centric needs. Want to learn more? Get in contact with us today and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.