This article was initially published in The Times newspaper (www.thetimes.co.uk)
From terrorist attacks to major cyberbreaches, the world suddenly seems to be more dangerous and unpredictable than it has been in the last half century.
These alarming events come against a background of political and economic instability. On top of concerns about the security of employees, IT systems and supply chains comes pressure from investors, clients and regulators to ensure organisations are ready to act quickly to pre-empt or at least mitigate problems caused by these events.
Adding to this challenge is the way in which news of an incident is reported. Social media supports the instantaneous spread of information and has made news dissemination faster than ever before. Whether it’s a suspected terror attack, a natural disaster or a data breach, information about an event will travel around the world in seconds thanks to the rapid rise of the citizen reporter.
It was to harness the power of publicly available social media, starting with Twitter as the fastest purveyor of news wherever and whenever it might be breaking, that Dataminr was founded in 2009.
Dataminr processes publicly available information, including social media data, in real time and detects indications of breaking events. Using proprietary algorithms and machine-learning technology, Dataminr sends clients real-time alerts so security teams can quickly prepare the most effective response to unforeseen incidents.
Corporations depend on Dataminr to help keep their personnel, facilities, operations and interests safe around the world. Political and terror-related risks have always been around, but these days the key is the speed at which they’re reported thanks mainly to social media, and the ability of organisations to react with equal alacrity and agility, as they begin to exploit the power of social media as a source of news.
AnotherDay, A strategic defence and security consultancyuses Dataminr’s services to turn the ocean of public data provided into useful, actionable information that its clients can use in their crisis-response procedures.
“We have the Dataminr app running constantly on our desktops at AnotherDayand our consultants have it on their smartphones wherever they are in the world, so we can all receive alerts for terrorist incidents, cyberattacks or other threats,” explains JakeHernandez, Global Consulting Director at AnotherDay.“We can then use our understanding of our individual clients’ operations to put these alerts into context. We can say to an insurer, for instance, ‘This is what has just happened, this is what it means for you and this is what other companies like you have done in similar situations’.”
Both Dataminr and AnotherDay are brought in by departments ranging from the communications team, corporate security, human resources and, increasingly, in these days of “just-in-time” delivery, those responsible for supply chain management.
One Dataminr client that transports refrigerated medicines across Turkey was able, following an alert about political instability in the country, to keep drugs in their refrigerated warehouses. Had they been transported, they would have deteriorated when roadblocks delayed the lorries, impacting storage conditions and costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“Companies are realising that not only can they reduce their risk, but they can gain an advantage over their competitors that aren’t managing such risks as well,” says Tim Willis, Director of Corporate Security Sales at Dataminr.