What to know about user behavior analysis |

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by Ken Lynch


August 1, 2019

In recent years, significant progress has been made in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Businesses large and small are finally finding value in the data at their disposal. Big data is no longer a buzzword, but an essential 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 daily user activity in any context to predict patterns and aid in decision making.

User behavior analysis can be applied in several ways, such as: identifying and mitigating cybersecurity threats, managing risk in businesses, mapping customer buying trends for marketing, etc

How Your Business Can Benefit From User Behavior Analytics

Here are some ways to 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 widely deployed. UBA can help you identify insider threats to information by analyzing user behaviors on your information infrastructure. UBA helps IT to identify and report anomalies based on established standards and prevent potential risky behavior.

Data is the new currency of criminal cyberspace. News of large-scale data breaches and hacking attacks have become commonplace in today’s business world.

That said, several studies, including two recent ones by McKinsey and AC Technologies show that more than 50% of data breaches come from insiders. Another 2018 report by the Ponemon Institute paints a more ominous picture. The report estimates that the average cost of insider threats is $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 still rely on traditional security tools, such as access control systems (ACS), DLP, and SIEM platforms.

AI-based UBA systems are relatively new to the information security world, but have shown great promise in identifying and stopping insider threats.

Additionally, external cybercriminals always find ways to defeat existing defense mechanisms to gain elevated usage rights over critical IT infrastructure. Only robust UBA systems can identify such anomalous behavior in time and enable system administrators to take action.

According to Securityintelligence.com, you can use an AI-based behavioral analysis system to identify the following types of risky users on your IT infrastructure:

• Inadvertently initiated – It is users who make mistakes that can lead to serious breaches without knowing it. Users could endanger your system by visiting malicious websites, sharing passwords with third parties, using unauthorized devices on corporate networks, etc. Conventional system administration tools usually struggle to identify these users, but a solid UBA system is designed for this purpose.

• Unresponsive Users – These are the users who don’t care about information security and don’t respond to security-related training or policies. The previously mentioned Ponemon study identified this group as the most risky. Most IT admins who use internal training and policies find it difficult to identify unexpected behavior by members of this at-risk group. This group of users will be the first to be flagged by a user behavior analysis system.

Use user behavior analytics to improve risk management

Risk management should be an integral part of any organization, regardless of its industry. Did you know you can deploy UBA systems to identify and mitigate risks in your company ? Talk about money laundering and fraud, bad creditors, employee morale, cost management, etc. these and other personnel risks can be managed with UBA.

For example, financial companies can use UBA to identify and stop fraudulent activity using the analysis tools available in UBA systems. With a robust user behavior analytics system powered by the right data, your business can analyze 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 those available from external entities to identify credit risks.

• Operational risk management

• Human ressources – Use the data you have about your employees to identify risky behaviors such as poor performance, morale, teamwork, etc. All of these risks can be mapped into an intelligent UBA system to help HR and management make decisions on hiring, compensation and training needs assessment.

Final remarks

We’ve only scratched the surface of the potential applications and benefits a robust UBA deployment can have on your business. There is a lot of hype around big data and AI. These two have been touted as the main drivers of the 4th Industrial Revolution, and only those who learn to use them will stay ahead of the rest. UBA will be an important contributor to future business intelligence and security ventures.

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About the Author

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Ken Lynch


Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran who has always been fascinated by what drives workers to work and how to make work more attractive. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He propelled the success of Reciprocity with this mission-based goal to engage employees in their company’s governance, risk and compliance goals to create more socially responsible corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. You can learn more about ReciprocityLabs.com.

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