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Cybersecurity threats are increasing at a mind-numbing pace. However, hesitation about integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into people-based processes is hindering organizations and their cybersecurity — especially as bad actors weaponize AI in cyberattacks.
AI produces insights derived from vast amounts of data, allowing organizations to make real-time decisions that can’t be achieved with human effort alone. As a result, AI improves organizations’ ability to prevent and mitigate cyberattacks before people can detect them.
While it’s not a silver bullet, AI is instrumental in detecting, preventing and responding to cyberattacks when paired with cybersecurity best practices — and it enables faster and more accurate security decision-making. Don’t let fear of new technology hold your organization back from harnessing the benefits of AI in cybersecurity.
The pros of AI cybersecurity far outweigh the cons
Many organizations can be reluctant to adopt AI and automation, which is understandable but misguided. AI can prevent and minimize security vulnerabilities, help achieve compliance and ensure that software is secure. Like any tool, there are challenges associated with new AI implementations. But once these challenges are better understood, they are easier to accept.
For example, the most effective AI requires huge datasets to learn and improve decision-making, which can make it costly to implement. However, the savings associated with improved efficiency and automation can make up for the initial cost. Careful monitoring of AI outputs can mitigate many other potential risks, such as the introduction of unintentional human bias into AI models.
Despite these challenges — which can be mitigated — the application of AI in cybersecurity is still critical. That’s why your organization should be aware of the potential pitfalls, but also know that the pros far outweigh the cons. To mitigate ongoing cyberattacks and better protect your environment, your business needs good cyberhygiene paired with AI.
3 ways AI can improve your cybersecurity posture
Some organizations use AI to detect attacks but hesitate to use it as a preventative or responsive strategy. However, now is not the time to be reluctant. With cyberattacks on the rise and world events spawning new cyberthreats every day, AI and automation are key to unlocking agility, greater operational efficiency and faster response time for your organization.
Here are a few ways to help reduce human error and improve your cybersecurity posture with AI.
1. Automate repetitive tasks
Cybersecurity and IT teams are focused on day-to-day efforts, making it a challenge for them to constantly monitor for threats. When used in combination with other automation tools, AI threat monitoring can reduce human employees’ workloads and free up resources to focus on higher priority work. Automation can block suspicious traffic according to defined criteria or encrypt and quarantine certain types of files, while machine learning algorithms can make more complex decisions on your behalf with full visibility.
2. Pinpoint potential vulnerabilities
AI use cases include continuous monitoring, behavioral analytics, malware protection, malicious bot protection and attack-surface analysis — all critical capabilities in the fight against cyberattacks.
For example, attack-surface analysis is the analysis of systems and processes to uncover weaknesses. This enables your business to analyze the whole attack surface the same way as an attacker. With this approach, you can proactively identify vulnerabilities and determine what would happen if that vulnerability was exploited — e.g., potential data exposure risk or opportunities to execute malicious code. These insights let you correct vulnerabilities and better protect your environment.
3. Optimize cybersecurity best practices
To get the most out of your AI application, you need to practice regular cyberhygiene. Best practices like identity and access management, vulnerability management, secure coding, cyberthreat hunting and ongoing user education can help ensure your organization’s cybersecurity posture remains strong.
AI is not the be-all and end-all solution to cybersecurity, but it does enable security teams to be more effective. And even though AI still needs to be monitored, its benefits and ability to boost innovation, accuracy and speed are essential in detecting and mitigating cyber threats.
AI is a critical resource in a long line of defense
The biggest barrier for many organizations in their cybersecurity efforts is the fear of implementing AI. But this fear and reluctance are easier to overcome once businesses understand the positive attributes AI has to offer.
AI doesn’t replace good security hygiene. Instead, think of it as an arrow in the cybersecurity quiver — another essential resource in a long line of cyber defense. When bolstered with cybersecurity best practices, AI can significantly aid in reducing security vulnerabilities and responding to threats.
Caleb Merriman is CISO at Deltek.