Remember the days when a simple firewall and anti-virus software protected a corporate network?  Unfortunately, to thwart today’s computer villains (often sponsored by foreign governments), companies may require a more “James Bond” type of defense.  For this reason, investors have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into advanced cybersecurity platforms – betting that businesses will finally get their heads into the security game.  “Rare is the corporation whose network has not yet been breached,” Sameer Gandhi, venture capitalist with Accel Partners reported to USAToday, Crowdsourcing, data mining help stop hackers, (Sept. 11, 2013).  “The reality is that these threats are becoming more sophisticated, and we can expect them in higher volume in the future.”  (Of course, Accel Partners has an interest in businesses beefing up their security protocols, since Accel recently invested millions into a new security company – CrowdStrike – to further develop its anti-hacking platform.  See Danny Yadron, Firm that Tracks Foreign Hackers Gets $30 Million Funding Round, Wall Street Journal (Sept. 9, 2013)).

So, let’s take a look at CrowdStrike’s new security business model.  CrowdStrike uses big data and “crowdsourcing” analytics to identify and map cyber-criminal behavior within a corporate network.  It then purges the intruders from a corporate network before a compromise occurs.  The system becomes “smarter” each time it sees how hackers break in to steal information.  See USAToday, Crowdsourcing, data mining help stop hackers.  To complement these new advanced software tools, CrowdStrike also focuses on the human aspect.  Its investigative team, which is trained to collect, investigate and decipher data on threatening groups and corporate security risks, includes a former cybersecurity official from the F.B.I., as well as many others from the defense, intelligence and law enforcement communities.  The investigators and forensic experts give businesses the ability to track and hunt those cyber-villains on the network, and to understand why and how the threats occurred.    

Other security business firms have been busy increasing their cybersecurity platforms as well.  Cisco recently purchased Cognitive Security, a security firm that uses artificial intelligence techniques to detect cyberthreats, and Sourcefire, a leader in intelligent cybersecurity systems.   According to recent news releases, Cisco, with these acquisitions, hopes to accelerate its “security strategy of defending, discovering, and remediating the most critical security threats across the attack continuum.”

It certainly appears that these new security platforms are trying to help businesses be proactive with their security protection and detection – that is, to discover a threat before it is too late.  What is the old saying – it takes a whole village to raise a child?  Well, in today’s hyper-competitive and global marketplace you might need a whole team of highly skilled investigators and forensic experts to safeguard corporate data.  However, businesses still need to recognize that their own employees play a big role in security of the company’s data.  Businesses should consider looking to external resources, such as these new security platforms.  However, they should also be looking at their own internal policies, procedures, training and best security practices to insure they are meeting the quickly changing world of data security and protection.

As the world evolves at a supersonic pace, businesses might need to rethink the importance of their security efforts.  As these new business ventures demonstrate, cybersecurity is becoming a critical and necessary function to remain globally competitive.  From state-sponsored cyberterrorism and theft to corporate infiltration and espionage, the disappearance of a business’ competitive advantage might be one stolen secret away.