Can Cognitive Computing Solve Cyber Security Challenges?

Recently, Tom Simonite of MIT Technology Review wrote about applications of IBM Watson in business decision-making. Assisting smart, experienced Fortune 500 managers with business decisions is a tough problem at many levels. The subtlety of language and emotions layered on top of deep, complicated business problems – such as M&A decisions – is indeed challenging. But, addressing problems of this importance and complexity is precisely what cognitive computing promises to deliver.

To the extent that it embodies broad use of natural language processing and semantic understanding of unstructured content, IBM Watson truly represents a new era of computing.

At SparkCognition, we like to say that the “if-then-else” era of programming is officially over, and we find ourselves poised at the cusp of an age when smart, human-like learning and cognitive computing will be pervasive. As it has for a hundred years, IBM is helping create yet another market with yet another compelling technology.

SparkCognition has joined IBM Watson as one of the earliest ecosystem partners. Our joint goal is to expand the frontiers of cognitive computing and solve high-value problems in multiple industries. Together, we are embarking on a journey to develop the leading cyber threat assessment and remediation platform. SparkCognition’s Cognitive Security Insights (CSI) application, powered by IBM Watson, is an end-to-end security platform that leverages sophisticated, cognitive algorithms to detect, assess, research and remediate Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).

SparkCognition’s best-of-breed algorithms, coupled with Watson, represent a novel way to handle security challenges. The bleeding edge assessment, research and remediation capabilities are designed to help security admins save time by triaging alerts, automating research and providing in-context help. These are massive, unaddressed challenges in the security space. Indeed, the product itself evolved from discussions with several customers who were frustrated with the limitations and the high cost of managing SIEM systems. For enterprises that have invested in SIEM (Security Information & Event Management) systems, but are unable to realize their full potential, CSI powered by IBM Watson offers a layer of intelligence and cognitive pattern detection that can supercharge SIEM deployments.

At SparkCognition, we are excited to partner with IBM Watson to address a complex challenge that stems from the growing volume and sophistication of attacks. Our early access program (beta) customers have provided us with encouraging, positive feedback and are already working with us to identify additional use-cases of our technology within targeted security focused areas.

My first-hand experience working with cognitive computing and with a large number of its potential users suggests that although the technology is still maturing, the potential it presents is immense. IBM Watson is already tackling large problems such as cancer treatment and call center operations. Cyber security is an ever-evolving, complicated space that will be transformed by cognitive computing.

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