Data science and cyber security are two job titles that have become hugely popular in the last few years. Employees that possess these skills are hard to find and challenging to retain. There’s no doubt having these skills on your resume will make you a valuable, sought-after asset to any organisation.
Cyber security in particular has grown to be highly significant in recent times due to the widespread use of the internet and connected devices. Cyber threats have become more common and more complex as time passes. Companies are adopting new tools, tactics and technologies to battle against cybercrimes.
Both the increased popularity and changing landscape have caused cyber security to see many integral changes. It is heading towards the use of big data and artificial intelligence to build stronger security systems and manage cybercrimes more efficiently.
1. Understanding the evolution of cyber security
Around 30 years ago, IT departments had very little to worry about in terms of cyber security due to its relative simplicity and the fewer number of devices that were being used. Cyber security was not considered a high priority until big companies such as Equifax, Yahoo, Talk Talk, Sony and NHS became victims of cyber attacks. Since then, cyber security has become less of a reactive practice and more like an ongoing, proactive practice for all companies that wanted to strengthen their brand reputation and clients’ security.
Over time, cyber security is no longer restricted to the IT departments, it has become a company-wide practice. Cyber criminals have become smarter and companies need cyber security professionals who have creative-problem solving skills that not only know their technology but also have a knack for understanding people.
As the pressure to match up with cyber criminals increases, companies are finding innovative ways to tackle them. Most recently, big data and artificial intelligence has been widely used in cyber security to develop various systems that are efficient in predicting threats and detecting vulnerabilities. Further in the blog, we will be diving deep into how big data and AI is contributing to the cyber security industry.
2. How are big data and artificial intelligence helping the cyber security industry?
Data science and artificial intelligence is increasingly being used by a number of industries for a number of purposes. This is happening at such a rate that the use of big data and artificial intelligence in cyber security is expected to reach $35 billion by the end of 2025.
Big data in cyber security
Cyber security professionals can use their skills in big data to help protect the company’s systems against cyber attacks and identify threats and abnormal behaviours caused by an intruder. Data science is helpful in bringing connections between minor abnormalities and use them to understand the bigger picture of the problem. By using big data sets, cyber security professionals can compare real-time data in the set to help identify threats in advance.
Artificial intelligence in cyber security
Intrusion detection and prevention is one of the major applications of AI in cyber security. AI is capable of detecting minute threats and abnormalities from external sophisticated attackers or a trusted insider. AI algorithms are more efficient than human observers and traditional security tools, in identifying threats way in advance, before any damage is done.
3. Practical applications of big data in cyber security
There are mixed opinions about big data: some say it is a threat, while some consider it a saviour. Big data has the ability to store vast data and help data scientists to analyse, observe and identify abnormalities within a network, making it quite helpful in the space of cyber security.
Let’s look at some of the practical applications of big data in the cyber security space:
a. Intelligent risk management
With the help of big data professionals, it is easy to interpret intelligent risk-management insights which in turn help improve cyber security efforts. Automation tools are beneficial to analysts as data can be made available quickly and more easily. By following this approach cyber security experts can source, categorize and handle security threats on time without any delays.
b. Threat visualisation
Big data analytics can help cyber security professionals in foreseeing the class and intensity of threats. By identifying and evaluating data sources and patterns, one can weigh the complexity of potential attacks.
c. Predictive models
Big data analytics have been used in the cyber security space to alert the company about an entry point for a possible cyber attack by building predictive models. Machine learning and artificial intelligence play an integral part in developing such mechanisms. Analytics-based solutions help in better and more accurate predictions and allow time to prepare for possible events in the future.
4. Does having cyber security skills along with data science skills help your career in cyber security?
Data science and cyber security have become two of the most sought-after career paths of the century. And the combination of these two skills will help you become more valuable in the industry. Let’s understand how.
Cyber security professionals have been increasingly relying on data science capabilities to make their security products smart. For instance, Cyber security professionals factor behavioural-based analytics and responses into antivirus suites, traffic analysers and firewalls for better products.
According to recent statistics, in the next five years, the security industry will be thriving purely with solutions that rely on data science and AI. Therefore, making it important for cyber security experts to gain an understanding of the various tools and methodologies in data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning in order to be ready for the rapid changes in the industry in the next few years.
5. Should you choose data science or cyber security?
Both data science and cyber security are considered to be the hottest areas of IT growth in the coming years. But finding the right fit for you can be daunting. However, it is essential for you to determine which aspects of data science and cyber security do you enjoy the most? Note down the key skills, tools and technologies used in each area and weigh them against your own interests and experiences.
Data science, on one hand, is a much broader area that will be covering various fields such as data visualisation, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and so on that is used for a variety of purposes. On the other hand, a cyber security professional specialises in the field of security and risk management dealing with infrastructure security, data privacy and data management using tools and techniques of data science, AI and machine learning.
Cyber security and data science are two of the most dynamic and emerging areas in the IT industry. If you are considering a career in data science or cyber security or both, Institute of Data programs will help you achieve the same through an industry-focused program designed specifically to help you get a job in the industry that is demanding professionals with skills in data science and cyber security.