The Internet is awash in information, and some little bit of it somewhere might represent a threat to your company.

How much would you pay someone on your staff to read more than a billion Internet posts a day in 200 languages, sort through it all, provide what’s relevant to your company in your inbox, and then alert you, in real time, to the most threatening information?

It’s an interesting question that points to the value proposition of Babel Street, one of the exhibitors at the upcoming ASIS 2017 show in Dallas. Babel Street is one of the new “Big Data” analytics companies serving the security marketplace with a cloud-based platform able to analyse multi-lingual data in near real-time. “Our goal is to bring information from various sources, including billions of Internet posts, into one pane of glass,” says Jeff Chapman, CEO of Babel Street. The data analytics company sells its capability to collect data, refine it, and serve it up for clients to review.

Monitoring the internet for security threats

Sources of the data include social media outlets, “dark web” content, billions of blogs and forums, and commercially available information (in a partnership with TransUnion). Information might be related to intellectual property (IP) theft, various plant facilities, insider threats, executive protection, and/or general situational awareness. “CSOs are realising that one of the arrows in their quiver needs to be monitoring publicly available information on their companies,” says Chapman. “There are a billion postings a day, and somebody is likely talking about your company – what if it’s about security and you don’t hear it?”

Babel Street’s customers include both commercial and government clients, and the company is active in the United States and several other countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Italy). Clients include technology companies, apparel companies, and even major sports leagues. In the government realm, there are health agencies, defense and law enforcement, among others.

Information might be related to intellectual property (IP) theft, various plant facilities, insider threats, executive protection, and/or general situational awareness
The system’s search and discovery processes occur in native languages, and then the results are translated and provided in the language requested

Organised, translated, actionable data

As the name suggests, Babel Street’s efforts transcend language barriers and can access data in more than 200 languages. Information can be delivered in any requested language. The system’s search and discovery processes occur in various native languages, and then the results are translated and provided in the language requested. The company’s differentiator is its linguistic capabilities overlaid with its capability to analyze massive amounts of data at a rapid speed.

Accessing information in a variety of languages requires the ability to determine the sentiment expressed in the native language based on linguistic nuances. The system judges the attitude, emotion and intent expressed and determines if there is threat or a purpose to do harm.

Babel Street embraces the need for privacy and employs a “chief privacy officer” to ensure they are compliant with various data laws. Chapman says they maintain a close relationship with data providers.

The future of data analysis

At the ASIS show in Dallas, Babel Street is looking to connect with existing clients, to locate new clients and to connect with potential partners. A partnership might enable Babel Street to access a new market, expand their international reach or otherwise benefit the business. The company’s message to ASIS attendees: “If you have a requirement to find data in the publicly available space, we are your answer,” says Chapman.

In some cases, marketing departments are also interested in the information Babel Street can provide, especially from a reputation management perspective.

As a former naval intelligence officer, Chapman learned the value of data and realised that the issue of analysing Big Data would not be solved by humans, given its volume, velocity and variety (the “3Vs”). “We need to be able to capture that information, and I was looking for solutions to help solve the problem,” he says. “I didn’t find a solution, so we built one.”

Headquartered in Reston, Virginia., the company has about 100 employees. Data is sorted using artificial intelligence (AI) for speed and employing the Amazon Web Services cloud.

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Author profile

Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SourceSecurity.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SourceSecurity.com's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

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