With cyber attacks emerging as the top risk for regulators and financial businesses worldwide, Robert Elsey is determined to push the Bank of England ahead of the cybersecurity curve. For the CIO and Executive Director for Technology, cyber resilience now means having the ability to uncover and detect threats while they are still unknown rather than just tackling known dangers.
He has led a fundamental shift in how the central bank detects and responds to cyber attacks so that staff are now focused on studying patterns of adversarial behaviour in an attempt to respond to unknown threats. Switching to this proactive approach has meant developing an operating model to support continual research, behavioural profiling and the implementation of data analytics. Thanks to the standard data-mining platform Elsey and his team introduced, the central bank's experts have been able to develop sophisticated analytical techniques to detect behaviour, rather than individual attacks that change over time and with increasing frequency.
His expansion of Big Data capabilities has also allowed the bank to store granular trading information and perform real-time analysis for the first time, enabling it to make more informed decisions on financial policymaking. The current focus is on using tools to manipulate and visualise this data locally.
The next step will be AI. By combining it with the granular data now being collected, the bank will be able to make faster, more accurate judgments, while natural language processing will be used to extract insights from annual reports and shareholder communications.