Techopia Live: Once big data ‘evangelical’, Ottawa’s Interset now flooded with demand

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Today’s cybersecurity environment is complicated (to say the least), but Interset president and CEO Mark Smialowicz told Techopia Live this week that the local firm is finding opportunity in simplifying the situation.

Ottawa-based Interset has developed a big-data analytics platform that can identify troublesome anomalies in enormous organizations. Smialowicz says its artificial intelligence can take an enterprise with thousands of employees and identify which three or four have the highest security risk.

“We’re looking at a big haystack, and instead of going through each piece of hay, we’re just surfacing the four or five needles that are most risky,” he said.

If the software notices a user is operating at an unusual time of day or interacting with information it shouldn’t be, those pattern deviations might signal that an employee’s account has been compromised.

For large companies with 20,000 or more simultaneous users, these patterns are nearly impossible for the human mind alone to track. Smialowicz says that while artificial intelligence can certainly help in these cases, he doesn’t believe the future of cybersecurity can be reduced to a war of the machines.

“I don’t see, in the foreseeable future, this becoming completely automated where there’s no humans in the pictures. … There’s still the baseline of security that even transcends technology.”

It took Interset three years to build its big-data analytics platform, and just as long to convince potential customers of its value. But now, with the number of high-profile security breaches in the news, few remain who need to be convinced.

“It was evangelical two years ago; now we’re having tremendous uptake in our product,” Smialowicz said. He adds that word of mouth has been key to Interset’s spread, and its client list now includes large financial institutions, defence companies and telcos.

The firm has drawn talent from established enterprises in Ottawa such as IBM and the remains of Cognos, and Smialowicz says there hasn’t been any shortage of qualified people to grow the company.

“We don’t need to look anywhere else. We’re just going to look where we are,” he told Techopia Live. “This is definitely the heartbeat of the company.”

To hear more about Interset’s cybersecurity solution, watch the video above.