Over the last few years, significant strides have been made in artificial intelligence (AI). Businesses, both big and small, are finally finding value in the data at their disposal. Big data is no longer a buzzword but a critical tool used by both governments and businesses in many countries.
User Behavior Analysis (UBA) is one of the practical implementations of big data today, coupled with deep learning algorithms. UBA is used to make sense of every day user activity in any setting to predict patterns and help in decision making.
User behavior analysis can be applied in many ways such as: identifying and mitigating cybersecurity threats, risk management in business, mapping customer shopping trends for marketing, etc.
How Your Business Can Benefit from User Behavior Analysis
Here are some ways that you can deploy UBA tools in your business today:
Use Big Data Analytics to Identify Information Security Threats
Information Security is one of the areas where user behavior analysis has been deployed heavily. UBA can help you to identify insider threats to information by analyzing user behaviors on your information infrastructure. UBA helps IT to identify and flag anomalies based on set standards and prevent would-be risky behavior.
Data is the new currency in the criminal cyberspace. News of large-scale data breaches and hack attacks have become common in today’s business world.
That said, several studies, including two recent ones by Mckinsey and CA technologies show that over 50% of data breaches emanate from insiders. Another 2018 report by the Ponemon Institute paints a more ominous picture. The report estimates that the average cost of insider threats stands at $8 million, a figure that is more than double the average cost of all other threats in a year.
While most companies are aware of the threats posed by insiders, many are still relying on traditional security tools, such as access control systems (ACS), DLPs, and SIEM platforms.
AI-driven UBA systems are relatively new to the information security world but have shown a lot of promise in identifying and stopping insider threats.
Also, external cybercriminals always find ways of defeating existing defense mechanisms to gain elevated usage rights to critical IT infrastructure. Only robust UBA systems can identify such abnormal behavior on time and allow sysadmins to act.
According to Securityintelligence.com, you can use an AI-driven behavior analysis system to identify the following types of risky users on your IT infrastructure:
- Inadvertent Insiders - These are the users who make mistakes that could lead to severe breaches without knowing. The users could put your system at risk by visiting malicious websites, sharing passwords with external parties, using unauthorized devices on company networks, etc. Conventional system administration tools usually struggle to identify such users, but a sound UBA system is made for this purpose.
- Nonresponding users - These are the users that don’t care about information security and do not respond to training or any security-related policies. The Ponemon study mentioned earlier identified this group as the riskiest. Most IT administrators who use training and internal policies find it hard to identify unexpected behavior by members of this risk group. This group of users will be the first to be flagged by a user behavior analysis system.
Utilize User Behavior Analysis to Enhance Risk Management
Risk management should be part and parcel of any organization, regardless of their industry. Did you know that you can deploy UBA systems to identify and mitigate risks in your business? Talk about money laundering and fraud, bad creditors, employee morale, cost management, and more; these and other personnel-related risks can be managed with UBA.
For example, financial firms can use UBA to identify and stop fraudulent activity using the analytical tools available in UBA systems. With a robust user behavior analysis system that is fed with the right data, your company can scan tons of user data to identify and flag fraudulent behavior.
Other areas where big data and AI can be deployed in the form of UBA include:
- Credit management - You can analyze your data and that available from external entities to identify risks associated with credit.
- Operational risk management
- Human resources - Use the data you have about your employees to identify risky behavior such as bad performance, morale, teamwork, etc. All these risks can be mapped into an intelligent UBA system to help the HR department and management make decisions on hiring, compensation, and training needs assessment.
We’ve only scratched the surface on the potential applications and benefits that a robust UBA deployment can have on your business. There is a lot of hype surrounding big data and AI. These two have been touted as the key drivers of the 4th Industrial Revolution, and only those who learn how to utilize them will stay ahead of the rest. UBA will be a significant contributor to future business intelligence and security undertakings.
Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity’s success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and ElectricalEngineering from MIT.