Gartner_Accelerating Growth: Total Experience

Gartner_Accelerating Growth: Total Experience

By Austin Miller

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” 

– Sun Tzu 

This isn’t the first time that I’ve quoted Sun Tzu in this newsletter, and I imagine it won’t be the last. The simple fact is that as cybersecurity has become more of a semi-organized cyber-war between nation states (who deny that they’re involved), lessons from military thinkers only become more and more relevant. And although Total Experience is much less adversarial in its overall goal than my framing would show it, cybersecurity professionals should understand how this great leap forward in IT organization will aid them in strengthening their security posture. 

Again, Total Experience in the general sense won’t immediately link to cybersecurity. But understanding it in the broader context of how data is collected and used today will show that Total Experience will become a fantastic tool for intercepting insider threats, phishing attacks, and other attack types that still cause IT teams problems. 

What is Total Experience? 

Taking customer experience, employee experience, user experience, and multiexperience to create a unified way of managing the way these experience metrics affect the way we view business is the name of the game with Total Experience. This combined approach is namely there for business-side operations and understanding how to improve the business while not losing productivity. 

Combining and enhancing the way that these experiences are combined is a way to provide a better outcome for stakeholders on all ends – and that includes the user. Gartner identified Fidelity Spire, an app for smart investments and savings, as a leader in total experience. By integrating effective AI and analytics into their backend, the company has managed to create a financial services platform which anticipates and proactively responds to client actions. Not only is this useful for customers, but the software is then turned on its head to help employees receive intelligent, responsive customer engagement training through the AI system. 

Although this trend is not anticipated in relation to security operations or obviously explains how an IT team should strengthen its security posture, there are key insights that can be gained from this exercise in data analysis and collection. 

What does Total Experience mean for cybersecurity? 

Let’s look at what Total Experience creates – data systems which are reactive and proactive, AI-informed and realistic simulations, and integrated analytics that accounts for customer, user, and employee behaviors. Can you tell where I’m going with this yet? 

Not only is the system designed to quickly learn and portray what both customers and employees are prone to doing generally, but it can also start to closely mimic what they would do as individuals. The more data you collect, the better this experience simulation is. For a cybersecurity professional, this works in two ways. 

Catching the adversary in the act 

Although primarily designed to identifying business-oriented actions and how the system can best support those through AI, Total Experience also gives us an intelligent way of combining a vast array of data to predict how customers will act – as well as their adversarial counterparts. This data analysis will allow for more intelligent identification of threat actors and give IT teams the leg up on intercepting unusual behaviors. 

Take spear phishing for example – the CEO will a “lacking” understanding of cybersecurity will be less of a target as intelligent data handling will increase the standards of defense. Better approaches to the overall experience that a person has with a system will only improve the way in which these attacks are nipped in the bud. But that’s not the best bit… 

Catching the enemy behind friendly lines 

Insider threats are an absolute pain to identify, let alone stop. The average IT team is not equipped to deal with the expert level of knowledge that would be required to both set up and then cover up a logic bomb, especially seeing as these types of attacks rarely happen. But with an intelligent approach to how employee data and experiences are collected and used, an insider threat is now much easier to spot.  

As soon as someone steps outside of the realm of their usual behaviors, systems can identify the unusual behavior and step off an alarm. “But we can already do this!”, you say – well, that’s true. But, as always, these systems will allow a great leap forward in the overall capabilities of the cybersecurity system to utilize data in a way that not only improves business operations, but closes the attack vector too. For anyone who is used to the hectic life of cybersecurity, that’s a boon. 

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