In Depth: Darktrace

It used to be that all one had to do to defend their network from threats is use anti-virus software and have a firewall. But that’s no longer the case. With threats from everything from ransomware to the threat posed by some person putting their iPhone on the corporate e-mail server without permission, you need to step up your threat protection. Otherwise, you’re going to find that your network will become the playground of every cybercriminal out there.

This is where Darktrace comes in. What they do to protect your network is very different than everyone else. Now I could try to explain it to you, but I won’t. Instead, I will quote how they define what they do from this page:

Powered by machine learning and a novel branch of Bayesian probability theory developed by specialists from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace is powered by Enterprise Immune System technology – the only cyber defense technology that is capable of detecting anomalous behaviors within large and complex environments, without any prior knowledge of what it is looking for.

With total visibility into network activity, Darktrace is uniquely capable of not only identifying but also classifying threats in real time. Darktrace creates unique behavioral models for every user and device, and for the enterprise as a whole, by correlating many weak indicators and subtle changes in information that would otherwise go unnoticed in the noise of a busy network. Using these models, Darktrace’s technology is able to rapidly piece together a compelling picture of genuine emerging threat activity without producing floods of false positives.

Sounds complicated. But it really isn’t. In fact, you’re already familiar with how Darktrace works. Think of it like your immune system. When a virus like the flu invades your body, it takes steps to alert you to it and defend against it. Can it cure any virus or any other threat that it finds? No. But you know that you have something and you seek medical attention. Darktrace works the same way. It can detect in real time threats that are both inside and outside your network and let you know what those threats are. That allows you to take action before damage is done and someone else tells you that you’ve been pwned by hackers, or perhaps by your own staff. Or Darktrace itself can take action for you and defend you against threats to your network. Either way, it will keep the bad guys at bay.

Here’s a video provided by Darktrace that illustrates this concept.

So you’re likely wondering who Darktrace are and what gives them the credibility to make these claims. Well, as the kids say, they have serious “street cred” in two areas:

  • The machine learning and mathematics that are used by Darktrace were developed by specialists from the University of Cambridge. The university is generally regarded as the birthplace of the computer having had such notable alumni such as Charles Babbage who designed the world’s first computing system as early as the mid-1800s, Alan Turing who went on to devise what is essentially the basis for modern computing and was part of the team that broke the Enigma code during World War II and Maurice Wilkes who created the first programmable computer. Thus, the people behind Darktrace are in very good company.
  • The people who run this company know who the bad guys think and what they’re likely to do. For example, in preparation for writing this in depth report, I spoke to David Masson who runs Darktrace’s Canadian office late last week. He’s a former government intelligence officer for the Canadian and UK governments. He and his co-workers have been fighting against these threats for a very long time. Thus, if you’re battling to keep cybercriminals at bay, these are the sort of people that you want on your side when you go to battle.

If those aren’t enough to convince you that you should take a look at Darktrace, how about this last item? Darktrace is a winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation in 2016. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are awarded to businesses for outstanding achievement in International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development. This is a very prestigious award and shows what sort of attention that they’re getting as well as how highly regarded they are.

Darktrace is headquartered in Cambridge, UK and San Francisco, with 20 global offices including Auckland, London, Milan, Mumbai, Paris, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto and Washington D.C. If you value the security of your network, I would highly recommend that you take a look at Darktrace. They clearly have the expertise on various levels to keep your network secure.

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