Improving Organisational and National Security With Big Data

Improving Organisational and National Security With Big Data
đź‘‹ Hi, I am Mark. I am a strategic futurist and innovation keynote speaker. I advise governments and enterprises on emerging technologies such as AI or the metaverse. My subscribers receive a free weekly newsletter on cutting-edge technology.

In the book SuperFreakanomics by Steven Levitts/Stephen Dubners they state that suicide bombers should buy life insurance. They guide readers through terrorism profiling, and report that lack of life insurance is a predictor of terrorism. Smart terrorists will therefore buy a policy to help avoid detection. The British Intelligence Agency uses such criteria, some known others unknown, to identify possible terrorists. Analysing so many different criteria over the entire population is done with Big Data technologies and algorithms and as such Big Data helps to make countries more secure. But Big Data has more applications in the security field, what are these?

There are three main areas that Big Data can affect and improve security and in the coming years Big Data will have a big impact on security issues worldwide and the way security is managed and handled. Some will be logical and others might be controversial, but Big Data will for sure impact the way we look at security.

Organisational Security

Organizations are swimming in security data. In a panel discussion at the 2012 RSA Conference in San Francisco, Ramin Safai, chief information security officer at Jefferies & Co., said his investment bank with 5,000 employees captures 25GB of security-related data every day. Hidden in that they usually find 50 matters to examine more closely, two of which end up demanding demand real attention. According to a whitepaper by EMC, 47% of the enterprises collect, process and analyse more than 6 TB of security data on a monthly basis. So, collecting the data is not the problem and all this Big Data impacts organisational security on three different themes:

Employees’ security is used to detect fraud or criminal activities and monitor risks among the employees of an organisation. Especially within large corporations it is difficult to monitor all employees’ actions, but with the right Big Data tools organisations can watch employees without infringing on their privacy. Tools can analyse full text emails or scrape communication channels and look for anomalies or patterns that indicate fraudulent actions. Only when the tool indicates an issue needs real attention, managers could dive into it. After all, organisations do want to protect their (intelligent) property and prevent an aggrieved employee to make sensitive data public for example.

To prevent fraudulent actions by customers: criminals always try to cheat and to make money or receive services without paying for it. Examples include insurance fraud, tax fraud or unemployment benefit fraud. With Big Data organisations can prevent, predict, identify, investigate, report and monitor attempts at insurance fraud regardless of line of business and it can be done automatically. Using massive amounts of historical data the can determine what is normal and what not and match that with actions happening in real-time. In combination with pattern analytics it can help identify outliers that require (immediate) action. This fraud-prevention industry is huge. The Insurance Information Institute estimated that insurance fraud accounts for $30 billion in annual losses in the USA alone.

To prevent organisations from being hacked by criminals who are after sensitive data such as credit card information, bank accounts, passwords or who want to steal digital money. There has been a lot of news recently about organisations such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Evernote that were hacked and where massive amounts of passwords were stolen. With the right Big Data tools, organisations can much better detect abnormalities on the network or find intruders that are not allowed. Organisations should create an intelligence-driven security model that incorporates a 360-degrees view of the organisation and all risks that the organisation faces. Together with the right Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions to provide real-time analysis of security alerts generated by network hardware and applications.

Public Safety

Governments are responsible that civilians are secure and especially during large events Big Data offers many possibilities to ensure this. Using different tools and with the corporation of different organisations via a Big Data solution, crowds can be kept under control and events can be kept safe easier.

Social media analysis is a great tool to do this and it is taking an ever-increasing role in crowd control. Governments worldwide use different Twitter analysing tools to scan and analyse tweets for security threats and will take action accordingly. A good example of a tool developed by the Dutch government in conjunction with control the crowd during a large event in December 2012 in The Netherlands.

Big Data can also be used to monitor the movement of the crowd during an event, to prevent too many people at one place and therefore prevent disasters such as the Love Parade disaster in Germany in 2010.

National Security

It is estimated that there are approximately 100 million security cameras worldwide at the moment and this will grow in the coming years. These cameras are used to control important economic areas/buildings/highways/events and smart cameras can be used to notify organisations in real-time when a security breach is noticed.

IP cameras that are directly connected to the internet will account for approximately 60% of all sales in 2016 and the percentage of HD security cameras will grow to 50% in 2014. All these high-definition IP cameras will generate massive amounts of data that can be automatically analysed with the right Big Data tools.

In 2012 the World Economic Forum identified Big Data as a very powerful tool for public safety and national security. The hyper connected world poses more and more risks that could seriously have major political, social or economic implications and collaboration. The key is to address the ongoing arms race between cyber criminals and the corporations, lawmakers and governments who oppose them, as stated by Rod. A Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), during the World Economic Forum in 2012.

In the coming years we will see a massive increase in the use of Big Data tools by governments to increase national security. Governments from YottaBytes is used to describe the amount of data the NSA and FBI have about people.


The usage of Big Data tools to secure organisations, prevent crimes and ensure national security will increase massively in the coming years. With that of course privacy issues can become oppressed with serious consequences for everyone. It is up to organisations, lawmakers and parliaments to ensure that the right measurements are taken while ensuring that the privacy rights of customers and civilians are not violated.

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Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Dr. Mark van Rijmenam is a strategic futurist known as The Digital Speaker. He stands at the forefront of the digital age and lives and breathes cutting-edge technologies to inspire Fortune 500 companies and governments worldwide. As an optimistic dystopian, he has a deep understanding of AI, blockchain, the metaverse, and other emerging technologies, and he blends academic rigour with technological innovation.

His pioneering efforts include the world’s first TEDx Talk in VR in 2020. In 2023, he further pushed boundaries when he delivered a TEDx talk in Athens with his digital twin , delving into the complex interplay of AI and our perception of reality. In 2024, he launched a digital twin of himself offering interactive, on-demand conversations via text, audio or video in 29 languages, thereby bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds – another world’s first.

As a distinguished 5-time author and corporate educator, Dr Van Rijmenam is celebrated for his candid, independent, and balanced insights. He is also the founder of Futurwise , which focuses on elevating global digital awareness for a responsible and thriving digital future.


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