How Statisticians Can Help Identify Cybersecurity Weaknesses


Cybersecurity measures have become an essential and significant aspect of running a business in today’s increasingly digital world. Though many may be unaware, cybersecurity breaches have begun to cost organizations exorbitant amounts of money. Thankfully, there are professionals who have begun to help organizations identify where potential threats may strike in order to bolster and strengthen cybersecurity in these areas.

Key professionals who can be extremely effective in this line of work are statisticians, whose alternative skill sets can help cybersecurity experts improve their processes in order to implement more effective cybersecurity measures.

Here is how statisticians can help identify cybersecurity weaknesses.

What Is a Statistician?

While many may be somewhat familiar with the field of applied statistics, some may be unaware of what exactly statisticians do. Statisticians are professionals who utilize and apply their knowledge of applied statistics for various purposes and can often use this knowledge in combination with other types of specialized knowledge. While some statisticians may work for companies, others may work on a consultancy basis for various organizations.

To become a statistician, one will have to obtain a bachelor’s degree in statistics or a closely related field. Many who intend to pursue advanced statistician roles will continue their education by obtaining advanced degrees in the field. In fact, doing so has never been easier and many individuals have begun to take advantage of flexible programs that allow them to obtain a master’s in statistics online.

These programs will typically involve courses such as probability and statistical inference, computational statistics, and predictive modeling. Understanding these concepts and being able to utilize them when crafting algorithms and software are key to utilizing the power of statistics in the context of cybersecurity measures.

Utilizing Data to Analyze Cybersecurity Risk

Today, cybersecurity experts attempt to help organizations defend themselves against cybercriminals in a myriad of ways. These efforts include installing firewalls and monitoring organizational networks. While these are effective means of protecting businesses, they can sometimes be akin to taking a shot in the dark.

Statisticians have the ability to help cybersecurity professionals analyze the cybersecurity measures of organizations and identify where more protection is likely to be needed. They do this through the careful collection and analysis of data that relates to cybersecurity measures and security breaches. By doing this type of analysis, statisticians can predict which cybersecurity measures need the most attention paid to them.

One way in which statisticians can be especially helpful to cybersecurity professionals is through the detection of anomalies. In the context of cybersecurity, finding anomalies is a powerful way for organizations to detect potential cybercriminal activity attacks on their networks. Typically, statisticians will aid cybersecurity experts in crafting algorithms that monitor an organization’s network. These algorithms will have an understanding of what normal traffic and network usage looks like. As a result of this baseline understanding, these algorithms can help alert cybersecurity teams when an anomaly is detected — which can oftentimes be a cybercriminal attempting to gain access or launch a cyberattack.

While it’s clear that statisticians can offer invaluable insight into the field of cybersecurity, their specialized skills have not yet been utilized as much as they should be. This likely has to do with the fact that the field of cybersecurity has been forced to evolve quickly as a result of the steep and significant rise in the threat of cybercrime.

As such, the field of cybersecurity has not yet had a chance to take advantage of every type of professional that might be able to add value to the field.

Thankfully, in recent times this has begun to change. Hopefully, statisticians will become a staple in the cybersecurity industry in the near future, helping cybersecurity professionals become more effective and dependable in their roles.

Statistics Can Make Cybersecurity More Effective

While cybersecurity has done a great job of helping many organizations stay protected from cybercriminals, there is still more they can do to advance their field and become more effective in their roles.

By utilizing the specialized skills and talents of statisticians, cybersecurity professionals have a chance to tackle weak spots more effectively and craft more accurate and potent cybersecurity measures. Hopefully, the near future will see wider adoption of statisticians in cybersecurity, and cybersecurity measures will become more robust and effective as a result.

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