Security and Safety in the Algorithm Economy

November 09, 2015

Contributor: Heather Pemberton Levy

Algorithmic business requires new measures to protect the enterprise including a focus on safety and quality.

The passenger car has been a transportation staple for decades. What was once a hunk of steel controlled by the driver now answers to an additional master – the computer system that operates much of its internal systems. That system relies on proprietary algorithms to create value for the auto maker and the driver. However, after a few examples of rogue, unbridled automation in cars, the public has woken up to the underlying algorithms that make these smart pieces of machinery work. Some may even shut off features designed to assist the driver, an unintended consequence to the potential for autonomous vehicles to make us safer.

In an era when the stakes are life and death, the vehicles with the trusted algorithms will win, says Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president and global head of research at Gartner, in the opening keynote at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Barcelona, Spain. In order to create this level of trust and protect their systems, organizations must change their risk management to address security, safety, and quality.

“ 65% of CEOs say their risk management approach is falling behind.”

Organizations should move their investments from 90 percent prevention and 10 percent detection and response to a 60/40 split. To do this, address the following areas:Notably, 65 percent of CEOs say their risk management approach is falling behind. In a new reality where security breaches come at a daily rate, Mr. Sondergaard said, “We must move away from trying to achieve the impossible perfect protection and instead invest in detection and response."


Enterprises face constant security breaches in an environment where major incidents are inevitable. Seventy-one percent of organizations have had to go into disaster recovery or business continuity mode over the past two years. “Clean your own house, simplify your systems,” says Sondergaard. “Act more like an intelligence officer than a policeman.”

“ Act more like an intelligence officer than a policeman.”

Smart hackers know not to reveal themselves when they get inside an organization but rather lurk and wait for the right opportunity to activate. The average malware lies dormant for over seven months before it’s activated or detected. Organizations should focus on getting better in sensing these dormant threats before it’s too late.

People-centric security

People make easy targets and may be susceptible to phishing and social engineering attacks. They use the powerful technology at their disposal for smart, and sometimes dumb things. Leading organizations create a culture of relaxed awareness, nudging employees in the safest direction.

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