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The current silo-style organization of threat researchers reviewing logs in one place, threat hunters in another, and the data scientists in yet another silo working on algorithms, just doesn’t cut it anymore with today’s security threats.

Security teams need to get smarter with how they use and manage all types of data. That’s because the lines between pure infosec data (Web logs, threat intelligence) versus other business data have become increasingly blurred. A piece of Web log data, for example, could be just as easily used to identify attackers as it could to optimize the customer experience. The same holds true for business data as well.  

They need data science tools to detect threats, and the data scientists coming up with the algorithms have to work much more closely with threat hunters and threat researchers, say.

“I think security pros are becoming more like data scientists,” says John Omernik, distinguished technologist at MapR. “But we can’t have data science for data science’s sake: We have to apply these new algorithms to our everyday business problems. My hope is that infosec pros realize that to advance their careers and for the good of the industry they will have to more advanced data management and data science skills.

“I want to break down the walls that infosec pros put up and the onus is on the security practitioners to learn these new skills,” he says.

Joshua Saxe, chief data scientist at Sophos, says many infosec pros are using Coursera to learn data science. Saxe says while infosec pros need to understand data science, it’s unlikely that most of them will get to the point where they are actually data scientists. 

“Becoming a data scientist does take a lot of foundation and it’s hard to learn by yourself,” Saxe says. “I think people in infosec need to think more like scientists versus hackers, and while people who are data scientists are more apt to come from top universities, there’s always going to be a need for people who are not data scientists. Before you just had threat researchers; moving forward we’ll have the data scientists working with the threat researchers.”

Here are five ways experts say enterprise security teams can get smarter about how they use all types of data in their jobs. 

 

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience, most of the last 24 of which were spent covering networking and security technology. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio

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