Security comes from analysis of ‘big data’, experts say

The Big Data system filters the vast amount of information that now flows to governments and companies.
Rupert Hollin, a director of software company Sas, at the Big Data event in Abu Dhabi on May 21, 2014. Christopher Pike / The National
Rupert Hollin, a director of software company Sas, at the Big Data event in Abu Dhabi on May 21, 2014. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // Defence companies have been introduced to a new security concept.

The Big Data system filters the vast amount of information that now flows to governments and can then, potentially, prevent terrorist threats and cybercrime, experts say.

“The volume, velocity and variety of data that is coming into an organisation is beyond its ability to gain any value from it,” said Rupert Hollin, a top security expert.

“So if it is getting too much, too quickly – it is a big data problem.”

He presented the concept to defence companies, including Tawazun, at an event in the capital on Wednesday.

“If you’re getting all the information, you want to get the value from it,” said Mr Hollin, director of strategy and planning of public security in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific at Sas, a software company.

“Sometimes, law-enforcement agencies get all the information in and then they don’t do anything with it. Then a terrorist attack or protest will happen. So they find out they had the pieces of the jigsaw but if they had been able to take value from it, then they could have prevented the event.”

He said some organisations would rather not have the data because it removed that risk.

“This isn’t a good thing,” he said. “But [this system] puts a statistical model across the data and filters it.”

The UK, the US and Australia use the system, which is a type of computer software.

“It’s a good way of gauging the population’s feeling about an issue on social media,” said Mr Hollin. “There are opposition groups out there who use social media to organise their protests. So we’re introducing it to the UAE and the region to see if they’re interested in it.”

Local defence companies are interested in the big data system.

“Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments, which is a Tawazun company, looks at unmanned systems,” said Matthew Cochran, chairman of the Defence Services Marketing Council, that organised the event.

“Reconnaissance that unmanned systems add to big data is yet another sensor for surveillance, threat detection and defence.”

Mr Cochran said a common approach to cyber security was vital.

“Each country is coming up with its sovereign approach because the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia first want to [address] cyber security [on] their own. Then they want to look at a common collaborative approach.”

He said the big data system gave a picture of what organisations needed to make a decision.

“Much like naval, land or air, you have to have an ability to communicate,” said Mr Cochran.

He said there was a lot of potential in the region.

“There are a lot of inventions that are happening here in the UAE and I think, for defence, we’re going to see a lot more.

“We’ll start seeing inventions for defence, space and security come out of this region and that’s really exciting because a lot of it has to do with cyber security.”

cmalek@thenational.ae

Published: May 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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