Big data means big changes in the makeup of IT security teams.
For a peek at the IT security team of the future, consider the team at Cisco Systems or at OpenDNS: in both firms, the security team includes not only malware experts and researchers, but also data scientists with no security expertise whatsoever.
The surge in big data resources for vendors and large enterprises, a growing trend toward gathering internal event logs and external threat-intelligence feeds, has pressured some organizations to rethink the type of expertise they need in in their IT security department. Enter the math majors, most of whom weren't schooled in Stuxnet or botnet traffic.
When Dan Hubbard, CTO at OpenDNS, started at his post two years ago, one of his goals was to rethink what a security research team should be. "One of the goals was to rethink if you could restart a security research team, what would be the absolute things you have to have to be competitive?" Hubbard says.
OpenDNS built on the existing team that was in place, but added a whole new generation of members. "Instead of hiring [more] reverse-engineers or malware researchers, we decided to augment [those experts] ... [with] data scientists who understood massive amounts of data," Hubbard says. That also meant adding algorithmic experts with PhDs in machinery, graph theory, some of whom had worked in genome research or fields unrelated to cybersecurity, he says.