IBM Starts to Apply Watson to Cybersecurity

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    While there may be a fair amount of concern over to what degree cognitive computing platforms such as IBM Watson might one day replace IT professionals, there’s general agreement that when it comes to IT security, most IT professionals are simply overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand. To help even those IT security odds, IBM has revealed that it is now formally beta testing an IBM Watson for Cybersecurity service with 40 customers.

    Diana Kelley, executive security advisor at IBM Security, says that up until now, IBM has been teaching the IBM Watson platform to understand the language of cybersecurity. In this next phase, Kelley says, IBM is employing Watson to identify malware as well as identify suspicious behavior indicative of a security breach. As this beta program progresses, Kelley says, Watson uses the information it discovers to further its IT security education.

    “Watson can now learn for itself,” says Kelley.

    By eliminating many of the rote functions associated with IT security, Kelley says IT security professionals should be able to spend more time remediating vulnerabilities.

    Kelley notes that there are over 1.5 million open IT security positions that IT organizations have little to no hope of ever filling. Advances in cognitive computing will equip IT organizations better to counter cybersecurity attacks that make use of bots and other automation tools to launch attacks at unprecedented levels of scale.

    Obviously, it’s only a matter of time before cognitive computing platforms such as Watson start to automate much of the remediation process as well. But in the meantime, IT security professionals should take comfort in the fact that they will soon be able to spend a lot more time fixing issues than trying to discover them.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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