The virtualisation of our society
Our world is becoming increasingly virtual. No, this is not a recent phenomenon: several centuries ago – and in some places still today - trading goods and services was the standard payment method. The introduction of money coins may in fact have been the first step towards our virtualized world.
Then came paper money, and just a few decades ago the bank card was introduced. And tomorrow we pay with our watches. Money is increasingly being virtualized, as well as many other valuable goods. Think, for instance, of our medical records which are stored online, and - one step beyond - the use of sensors in our body to follow up on vital information. A company’s worth (value?) is often only a number on a hard drive.
Everything is becoming digital, and is getting connected to the internet. This is a nightmare for anyone concerned with security and privacy. Just a few decades ago, a solid set of walls and the occasional safe were enough to protect what was of value to us. Nowadays everything is accessible for anyone who knows where to look. A nightmare for any security professional, and a wet dream for hackers and cybercriminals. There is no virtual equivalent of the thick steel door.
The risk of cybercrime is increasing for every company and every individual. Additionally, the risk of fraud is increasing at the same pace. In both cases the same dilemma applies: you want to block the risks as much as possible, but you don’t want your business to suffer from the blocking effects. Limiting customer annoyance becomes a key requirement. There are many tools available to analyse transactions and to scan for fraud. But certain types of behavior – especially Advanced Persisten Threats - will (so far) never trigger an alert until it’s too late.
Don’t trust your intuition!
Why not trust our intuition then? Isn’t it better than all those sophisticated analytics tools in the world? As a response, we could refer to analysis-based predictions of the quality of a wine in a specific region, which were by far better than those of all oenologists in the world. We could also refer to Billy Bean, the manager who bought dropout football players and obtained mind-blowing results with this bunch of ‘losers’ who were selected by a sophisticated analytics program, which led to the hugely entertaining movie ‘Moneyball’.
But I would like to challenge your intuition with a very simple question:
If you fold a page of paper in half 45 times in a row, how thick would this page be? 3 cm? 45 cm? Or are you adventurous enough to say 100 meter? You can find the answer in this link. I’m not giving it away, but I can guarantee you that the answer is not what your intuition told you. And that you will want to check it with your own paper page as well.
We are convinced – and have already proven - that analytics is a useful weapon in fighting risks and I will explain you al about it in my next blog item.