Kochi-UK firm Prevalent AI aims high, to make Kerala cyber security hub

Kochi-UK firm Prevalent AI aims high, to make Kerala cyber security hub
Prevalent AI founders Andy France (4th from left), Paul Stokes (5th from left), Sir Iain Lobban (4th from right), and Arun Raj (right) with HR Director Sara Mottus (2nd from left) and other staff.

A Kochi-UK based cyber security analytics company is on a mission to make Kerala a talent hub in the fast-growing sector. Prevalent AI, helmed by some of the seasoned players in the sector, is now ready to set up a Security Data Science (SDS) Academy in Kerala. The SDS Academy will come up in the company's Centre of Excellence which functions on the Infopark campus in Kochi.

Security Data Science is a combination of cyber tradecraft, big data engineering and data science that is increasingly gaining prominence to address complex security needs of organisations across the world.

Prevalent AI, with a workforce that is predominantly based in Kerala, is aiming to harness more talent in SDS from Kerala riding on the confidence it has acquired after emerging as a major force in the industry.

The company does cutting edge work in the cybersecurity space for clients across the world, according to its promoters. In simple terms, the company collects and processes data and use it to find solutions to the cyber security threat. The academy aims to skill graduates as well as working professionals from across Kerala.

"The idea behind the SDS Academy is about taking talented people who have skills in technology and teaching them how to apply science-based approaches to data to better understand things. The tech environment is always changing. It never stays static. The attack guys are always trying new things. So when you are a defender you have to be protecting everything all the time. In a way, the attackers or the threat is always ahead of the defence. So part of the reason for what we do with security data science is that there is just not enough people to defend all of the digital information and environments of the world. So you need to use technology and particularly data to help solve that. We get a lot of data, in fact more data than you can imagine, and we apply science to that data to make the ability to understand that much easier," Paul Stokes, co-founder & CEO, Prevalent AI, told Onmanorama from his Kochi office.

Kochi-UK firm Prevalent AI aims high, to make Kerala cyber security hub
Paul Stokes, co-founder and CEO of Prevalent AI with Sara Mottus, HR director. Photo: G Ragesh

"As the world creates more data, and it keeps growing exponentially, we need more and more people who understand how to take that data and derive meaning from that," he said.

Asked where Kerala stands in the fast-evolving field of data security science, Stokes sounded highly praising. "This is a new and very cutting-edge field. In Kerala we have built this 100+ team of people and we are doing a lot of experiments in security data science. So we already think that Kerala is at the forefront, certainly within India, among the leading places to do security data science. Already out of this office, we serve some of the world's largest companies who come to Kerala for their security data science needs," said Stokes, who has previously held leadership roles in global technology companies including BAE Systems, Deloitte and Cognizant.

Kochi-UK firm Prevalent AI aims high, to make Kerala cyber security hub

Stokes co-founded Prevalent AI along with Keralite Arun Raj, who is the chief operating officer of the company.

"Cyber attacks have become very prevalent across the entire digital economy. At any aspect of supply chains, cyber attacks are prevalent. From a defensive point of view, if you look at the technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, they have also become prevalent. Application of AI has been something that has been in place since the 60s, but advancement like cloud computing has now really made AI possible at scale. So on one hand you have attacks which are prevalent and on the other hand the defence techniques are also prevalent," Raj said, explaining the thought behind the brand name.

Kochi-UK firm Prevalent AI aims high, to make Kerala cyber security hub

Prevalent AI also has two global leaders in the cyber security industry as its co-founders. Sir Iain Lobban KCMG, CB and Andy France OBE who are in Kerala as part of the launch of the academy.

Both have in the past served as directors of GCHQ, UK’s foremost intelligence and security organisation responsible for providing signals intelligence and information assurance to the government and armed forces.

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