‘Cyber security may be an unsolvable problem’

Darktrace’s director of technology, Dave Palmer, tells PCR why firms are turning to self-learning systems and why cyber security is ‘not a realistic goal’.

What kind of trends are you seeing emerge in the security space?
Today we are seeing more and more sophisticated cyber-attackers, that are well-resourced and persistent, and are getting the better of some of the best-defended organisations, from Sony Pictures to critical parts of the US government.

We have been forced to accept that networks are, and will always be, vulnerable to compromise.

What are companies doing to combat these issues?
Companies are taking the issue seriously, making cyber security a mainstay item on the board agenda. They are increasingly broadening security strategies to address the problem of insider threat too, to protect against employees or third-party network users, who may jeopardise critical data and intellectual property, whether through malicious intent or negligence.

How are firms changing their approach to security?
Given this new era of pervasive threat, security professionals are shifting their focus from defending the network perimeter and blocking ‘the baddies’, to the challenge of identifying threats that are already inside company systems and stealthily moving around. Given the difficultly of constantly-evolving threats, this requires a far subtler understanding of what a ‘threat’ looks like, and has led to the emergence of ‘immune system’ technologies that automatically look for unusual, suspicious activity within large and complex networks.

What kind of demand are you seeing for your security solution?
As cyber-attackers continue to use ever more sophisticated methods to pass unseen within company networks, and as these networks grow bigger and more complex, we will continue to see strong demand for Enterprise Immune System technology. Organisations are turning to this self-learning system in order to protect against all sorts of threats, even those that have never previously been identified.

Do you plan to get involved in the channel and sell your solution via resellers?
The demand that Darktrace is experiencing is global, and strong across all industry sectors. Revenues have doubled over the past year and rate of growth is expected to continue. Darktrace has over 60 strategic and reseller partners around the world.

How do you expect the IT security sector to evolve in the future?
It will become untenable to maintain that your network is ‘secure’ in the future, and we will shift to a mentality of ‘continuous defence’ instead, based on having optimal visibility of all activities inside the network. Machine learning will be at the heart of that change, as they replicate human processes of analysis and judgement-making and make it easier for humans to take quick but informed decisions.

Cyber security is not a realistic goal in fact – it may be an unsolvable problem. IT security will be about visibility, prioritisation and mitigation, delivered by a combination of skilled people and cutting-edge technology.

Throughout November, PCR is running a dedicated Sector Spotlight on Security – Click the logo below for more articles.

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