​IBM tapping Watson to beef up cyber security capabilities

​IBM tapping Watson to beef up cyber security capabilities

"If there’s a worry on my mind ... it’s in the cyber security space and we need all the help we can get." IBM CIO, Jeff Smith

IBM is using the cognitive analytics capabilities of Watson to ingest the company’s DNS logs and traffic passing through its global network to identify cyber issues.

IBM’s global CIO, Jeff Smith, told CIO Australia that the company is currently piloting Watson for this purpose. It’s a use case for the cognitive computing engine that “we didn’t even think about a year ago,” he said.

“This [use case] is one I am quite interested in because if there’s a worry on my mind I think it’s in the cyber security space and we need all the help we can get, and that’s being able to process vast amounts of data and learn and reason it,” said Smith.

“The key to dealing with cyber incidents is the quickness by which you can identify and respond to them.”

IBM’s IT group provides the platforms used by Watson’s engineering team to build its capabilities but IT is also a consumer of the service, said Smith.

Watson also takes in ticket information from IBM’s service desks – about seven million records per day – to identify patterns.

“If someone calls in, let’s say a network failure, Watson will say, ‘there’s a 92 per cent chance that this has happened five other times in the last two years and it’s reduced our time to identify a problem by 70 per cent and our time to find the root cause by 80 per cent,” said Smith.

Meanwhile, Smith didn’t believe that advances in cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI) would threaten jobs - rather it would aid people in their day-to-day roles.

IBM CEO, Ginni Rometty, took this view last year, saying that AI was not about replacing workers but augmenting what they do.

“It [cognitive computing] is helping us solve problems more quickly and what it can do is look at and aggregate patterns.

“The big issue all of us have right now is that the volume of data is exploding and [organisations] just can’t process it and understand it quick enough. Having an engine that can actually ingest it and learn and reason, and give you feedback on how to approach it – that the big value.

“Most people don’t get the value [they need] out of the data they are generating – that’s the first world problem that all of us are trying to solve,” he said.

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Tags IBMservice deskcyber securityAIWatsoncybercognitive computingGinni Rometty

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