IBM offers AI platform Watson to Indian companies to keep hackers at bay

Cybersecurity is becoming a huge issue globally as well as in India, with new data breaches and stealing of confidential information. Traditionally, organisations used to maintain an army of cybersecurity experts, who are either part of their vendor companies or employed directly by them. However, IBM has started providing its artificial intelligence (AI) platform Watson to detect such cases, access the threat scenario and resolve those instead of relying on physical workforce. 

This is turning out to be a big business opportunity for the New York-based tech giant at a time when enterprises in India are witnessing a rise in cases of sensitive data exposure risks and breaches, as they are rapidly digitising their services.

The Big Blue is working with a number of small and medium businesses and enterprises in the country, wherein it is using Watson embedded products and services for end to end cybersecurity management. The existing and new customers adopting the company’s security software solutions grew by 50 per cent in India in the first half of 2019, compared to the same period last year, said the firm.

“India is digitising at breakneck speed. Because of the faster digitisation, (the country is facing more information security) threats,” said Vaidyanathan Iyer, security software leader, IBM India South/Asia. “We have been growing in double digits in India for our security software business portfolio and we expect it to continue for the next few years.”

The firm is witnessing demand for security solutions in areas such as banking, financial services and insurance, government, defence and manufacturing. One such customer is the BSE, which is working with IBM Security to design, build and manage a cyber security operations center (SOC) to safeguard the company’s assets and protect stakeholders’ data. The centre will enable round-the-clock security event monitoring, event handling, security analysis, and incident management and response. It will ensure proactive monitoring of threats 24x7, detection and analysis of any suspicious activity. Further by using ‘QRadar Advisor with Watson’ the BSE is able to automate routine SOC tasks, finds commonalities across investigations and provide actionable feedback to their security teams. 

The firm said it was providing its products embedded with Watson to the SMBs in India extensively for endpoint security. One of the biggest reasons for them to leverage Watson is “owing to the shortage of skilled security teams” within their organisation for assessing threats, said IBM. They are using these Watson-embedded products for various services like data protection, discover-track-control sensitive file access and vulnerability assessment for databases.

“The average total cost of a data breach in India is Rs 13 crore, which represents an increase of 7.29 per cent from the prior year,” said Iyer. “The root cause for 51 per cent of data breaches was malicious or criminal attack,” he added.

IBM’s security technology leverages various forms of AI, including machine-learning algorithms and deep-learning networks that get stronger and smarter over time. For instance, ‘Watson for Cyber Security’ IBM’s cognitive AI, learns with each interaction to connect the dots between threats and provide actionable insights. IBM Security development team, part of the company’s India Software Labs contributes extensively in the area of mobility-security solutions, said Iyer.

IBM is offering its AI-based security technology at a time when over 76 per cent organisations in India were hit by cyberattacks in 2018, the highest after Mexico and France, according to a report by Sophos, a UK cybersecurity company. The report ‘Seven Uncomfortable Truths of Endpoint Security’ revealed that IT managers are more likely to catch cyber criminals on their organisation’s servers and networks than anywhere else. 

This month cybersecurity firm FireEye revealed that China-based hackers broke into a leading India-based healthcare website, stealing 6.8 million records containing patient-doctor information. In February, French researcher Robert Baptiste, who goes by the online handle Elliot Alderson, claimed that he found a security breach that allegedly exposed millions of Aadhaar numbers of dealers and distributors associated with Indane, an LPG brand owned by the Indian Oil Corporation. In April, it was revealed that local search provider Justdial’s website was exposed which made personal information of 100 million users “publicly accessible.”

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