How To Build an Internal Business Case for Open-Source Tech

February 2021

The hows and whys of adopting artificial intelligence (AI) tools in the enterprise have been hotly discussed in recent years as the technology matures and becomes increasingly more relevant – and useful – in the course of everyday work. Gartner predicts that organizations worldwide will create $2.9 trillion of business value and 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity by using AI to support their decision-making, improve efficiencies and create new experiences this year alone. 

The buzz about AI and its use in OSINT (open-source intelligence) is getting louder, since AI can help organizations make sense of infinite pools of publicly available online and social media data efficiently – and fast. But budgets won’t be assigned to AI for OSINT simply because AI is a hot topic.  

Decision-makers, including Investigators and Intelligence Analysts need to make the case for deploying AI-driven OSINT solutions, as well as shelling out budget. Will AI-driven OSINT deliver a return on investment? Will it improve safety and security? Does it offer ease of use for employees? Platforms for OSINT need to make the invisible visible, uncovering insights that used to remain buried and allow investigators to map connections to discover common threads, even among suspects who appear unrelated. The arguments below can help your organization bolster its case for AI-powered OSINT platforms. 

Make the Case for Speed 

Speed is the difference between a safety or security breach that’s blocked and a damaging attack that threatens businesses and lives. But the path from data to insights is slowed down by the vast wells of information readily available on the web. Investigators need to explore connections and affiliations to suspicious behaviors that uncover and identify risk. But doing so during or after a dangerous event is much too late.  

Decision-makers should create a case for the impact of accelerating investigations through the power of AI. For example, depending on teams to parse this amount of data simply isn’t efficient. Sourcing the data landscape and connecting the dots manually is a painstaking process that can take a significant investment of time and people. In addition, such investigations often miss out on valuable insights.  

Therefore, improving speed with AI can actually be more cost-efficient than manual efforts. Applying unstructured content analysis to investigations can require many hours of content review and cross-checking disparate data silos. This slow and cumbersome approach should be replaced with AI-driven platforms that increase productivity and revive investigations that may have reached a dead end. 

Make the Case for Depth and Breadth  

The insights, evidence, and connections missed by manual investigations could be the keys that unlock a case. Decision-makers can show that without the power of AI, investigating and uncovering threats across the open, deep, and dark web – along with internal data – is vastly more difficult when simply relying on manual review. To analyze massive amounts of seemingly random, unstructured data highlighting suspicious connections and affiliations as well as behavior anomalies, organizations need more powerful platforms; they can’t settle for shallow and superficial investigations.  

Make the Case for Visibility

Investigative breakthroughs come from connections – that is, the ability to turn billions of seemingly unrelated data points into an easily visible network. This visibility allows investigators to rapidly flag suspicious activities, uncover online threats, and stop the theft of vital data – saving time, cost, and potentially lives. With the help of AI, investigators can construct detailed profiles of people of interest, connect seemingly separate crimes or events, and chart networks of connected individuals in intelligence operations – all inside of an anonymized browsing platform.  

Make the Case for Safety

Delivering ROI is important. But nothing matters more than the safety of workers, customers, and the community. In organizations whose employees’ lives are on the line, it’s critical to obtain relevant data as quickly as possible. In many cases, that means real-time access to masses of unstructured, deep, and dark web data that can yield patterns and insights for preventing threats to health and safety. In the end, this may be the most compelling business case for AI solutions that drive value from OSINT. 

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