How IBM Is Changing Enterprise Cybersecurity Landscape

by Sohini Bagchi    Nov 25, 2016

The last couple of weeks have been quite exciting for IBM Security. Ealier in November, the Big Blue announced the initial integration of Watson for Cyber Security with IBM’s QRadar Security Intelligence Platform. The idea is to help security operations center (SOC) analysts study security anomalies more thoroughly and with greater velocity. In the long-term, IBM is looking to change the cyber security landscape by focusing on cognitive security, where artificial intelligence [AI] systems are designed to learn and understand cyber security concepts well enough to reduce detection and response time.

In an exclusive interaction with CXOtoday, Vaidyanathan R Iyer, Business Unit Executive for IBM Security India/South Asia explains the state of cyber security from a global perspective and how IBM is helping enterprises adopt a comprehensive view of IT security.


IT security: a holistic view

Iyer believes that pure play security phenomenon doesn’t work any more unless there’s intelligence built into the security solution. “You have to look at security as a whole. Security has moved into the domain of analytics - cloud, big data, analytics and much more. We have come a long way in security - by moving into big data analytics and then cognitive security, an area where many of our competitors will find it difficult to venture.”

Earlier this month, IBM Security announced a USD 200 million investment, which includes facilities, software, and services, which in turn will help clients deal with cyber security incidences better. These investments have been made, including the new security headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusets, which will also feature the industry’s first physical cyber range for the commercial sector, where participants can experience and respond to cyber attacks using live malware and real-world scenarios. In other words, participants will be exposed to real-world cyber attacks using live malware and in real-world scenarios.  

IBM also expanded capabilities and capacity for its global network of IBM X-Force Command Centers which now handle over 1 trillion security events per month. These security operations centers are staffed by 1,400 security professionals who will use cognitive technologies like Watson for client services, including chat sessions and data delivery, as well as Watson for Cybersecurity to quickly address cyber security events.

Cyber security, Now A Collective Effort

Asked how other countries are dealing with cyber security issues differently, Iyer said, “Security concerns, whether in the US, India or rest of the world has the same underlying principles. The difference is of course in the kind of businesses they are running and the intensity of engagement they have with stakeholders.”

For example, in the US, the business trends in more on manufacturing and cutting edge technology. Indian businesses are more into services, knowledge, agriculture, pharmaceutical whereas if you look at Middle-East, there are more businesses engaged in oil and gas and minerals, he added.


While Russian businesses can have a different category of threat from Germany that has a very strong manufacturing and technology base, the basic motives of the cyber threat is the same. It is to bring down the business and to make money from the attacks. Earlier, some people used  to do it for fun. Today it is an organized crime and transcends geography and business vertical, said Iyer.

“Gone are the days therefore when cyber security was viewed as a separate IT issue, or a problem of one organization or one country. It has to be viewed as a collective global effort,” said Iyer.

Today industries, universities and the government across the world have partnered and collaborated to establish cyber security consortia that emphasize cyber-security as being the responsibility of the “whole community”. The whole community includes the public and private sectors as well as any individual within the community who accesses the internet or a computer network.

“These consortia foster closer interaction between industry and research institutions and provide companies access to top researchers and emerging technologies and IBM is playing an increasingly active role in the system to combat cyber crime,” he mentioned.

Cognitive Security Is The Answer

In the present scenario, cognitive security technology such as Watson for Cybersecurity can change how information security professionals defend against attacks by helping them digest vast amounts of data, informed Iyer.  

Meanwhile, Iyer stated the success of the QRadar portfolio is also the result of maintaining focus on not only developments in the SIEM market, but also the wider security operations space, marketplace and the various security challenges our customers face, such as time to value, ease of deployment, threat detection and visibility. He also informed that IBM’s investments also includes its acquisition of Resilient Systems earlier this year, a leading player in the incident response market.

Calling cognitive security the answer to today’s sophisticated cyber attacks, Iyer said, “This is infact the next logical step for enterprises and IBM Security is currently in the middle of a year-long research project working with eight universities to help train Watson to tackle cybercrime.”

Cognitive computing is slated to become a USD 47 billion industry by 2020, according to recent figures from IDC. While cognitive security is still in early stages, information security professionals see how the technology will help analysts make better and faster decision using vast amounts of data. This is where IBM can play a big role in the future, he concluded.