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The secretary who loved cyber intelligence

Cyber intelligence will be priority for businesses

Anticipating to competitors, contain data leaks, prevent fraud. Cyber intelligence services applications will be crucial for businesses in digital age

A seemingly minor variable. An open door to disaster. This brilliant secretary controlled everything. His computer was a kind of one-stop shop about company activity: business strategies, the offer policies, supplier networks… Accessing his little big world would allow them to unravel the secrets of the organization. Erode it severely. And cyber criminals, apparently commissioned by a rival, tried it. What they didn’t know was Javier G., the CEO of an industrial valve manufacturer in Bilbao, knew what he was doing. Years before, he had hired a cybersecurity services company to carry out a cyber intelligence analysis.

Ultimately, he had anticipated the potential damage a raid would cause on the secretary’s computer. And he won the game. Since then, his secretary has loved cyber intelligence.

Javier had traveled enough throughout his career to know what was at stake. Three decades of talks with colleagues around the world had convinced him about the importance of protecting his organization. To anticipate. Not only to defend against potential threats, but also to obtain quality information. Data unapproachable but which was usefull to design the company operations.

It’s not only that, but much more, what can be extracted from cyber intelligence services.

At this point, it may be better to go to the beginning: define the concept. Cyber intelligence is using of intelligence tactics, methodologies and tools applied to digital field. And what would intelligence be then? In an exercise of extreme synthesis, obtaining quality information for making present and future decisions.

Translated to business world or to public administrations, an effective tool to mitigate the uncertainty inherent to any activity. Or by establishing a connection with military nomenclature, genesis of current cyber intelligence: anticipating the enemy.

Taking these bases, perhaps the most appropriate thing is to ask another question. Or better two. Firstly: Why should a company have cyber intelligence analysis in its day to day? And secondly, and not least: What for?

To answer the first, nothing like a little context. History, always capricious, has wanted two unstoppable phenomena to come together in time, called to transform the world we know. Technological revolution and globalization are going to force companies and institutions, they are already doing so, in fact, to reorder the way in which they relate to their environment.

Moreover, figures of globalization are overwhelming. Signing of Bretton Woods agreements, which recently marked 75th anniversary, laid the foundations for a new global order that reformulated international trading systems. The consequence? Volume of exported goods is currently 40 times higher than in 1913, according to data from World Trade Organization (WTO). And growing … Despite frictions between US and China.

For instance, transmission system of a Mini vehicle crosses English Channel 40 times due to powerful global value chains. Today, economy is transnational and hyperconnected (is that familiar?). Nothing and no one can escape this reality.

Second factor, equally powerful (who knows if even more so), is technological revolution. Which some reputed academics have already dubbed as fourth industrial revolution. Again let’s go to data. And, in this case, with more sense if possible.

Cyber intelligence services are growing in this age

In just five years, the globally data volume generated will skyrocket to 175 zettabytes, according to calculations by consultancy IDC. That’s equivalent of 175 times the information available in 2011. But today it is estimated that there are about 44 ZB in circulation. If you were to undertake the unusual odyssey of storing those 175 ZB on the already old DVDs (Time flies!), they could go around the Earth 222 times storing them one after another.

And things don’t end here. A Bank of America report estimates that more than 150 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) within seven years. Each individual in any corner of the planet will tinker with connected devices about 4,800 times a day, which means an interaction every 18 seconds.

One last note. Within seven years, says IDC consultancy, 75% of world’s population, more than 6,000 million people, will interact with data in their day to day.
Ultimately, world to come will continue to be global and will be even more technological. Therefore, it is time to answer the following question: Why does a company or an institution need cyber intelligence services?

If context, eloquent enough, has not helped you to visualize its usefulness, we propose some reflections in order to make you understand why this tool already makes a difference between companies that use it and those that don’t. Let’s start with an irrefutable aphorism, whether in private sector or public life: information is power. And where is the information today? In the digital universe.

Estrategical cyber intelligence

Organizations of the future can hardly be competitive if they don’t optimize data with which they work. And not only internally, also externally. Quality of the cyber intelligence analysis will be strategic for all those organizations that want to attack new markets, protect themselves from threats (again exogenous and endogenous), anticipate risks and opportunities…

It will be essential to protect information internally by selecting those critical employees. Which, by the way, they are not always at the top of the chain of management (Remember our secretary?). Cyber intelligence services will provide high-level support to analyze efficiency, solvency and seriousness of a key supplier to be competitive in a new market.

Also to insulate information provided in a bidding process, key data that, in the hands of a competitor, would allow it to gain a differential advantage and win the award. Cyber intelligence analysis is of course useful to prevent operations of a rival in a specific market. Casuistry is endless.

Applications of cyber intelligence services are so many, so specific and of such value, that it would take many of those DVDs full of Zettabytes to enunciate them. Its applications in economic intelligence, fraud prevention, data leaks… are so evident that giving them up is putting a huge stone in a career that doesn’t wait for anyone.

In conclusion, Cyber intelligence is the future. And also the present. Don’t forget it.

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In TarlogicTeo and TarlogicMadrid.

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