20 Oct The impact of AI on cybersecurity: Balancing promise and reality
The proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) has undoubtedly left its mark on the cybersecurity landscape, introducing both opportunities and challenges. AI is a critical component in establishing efficient cybersecurity practices.
With the exponential growth of threats in modern environments, the ability to swiftly detect and respond to these threats would be nearly impossible without AI. However, the overhyped belief that AI alone can guarantee cybersecurity is creating a significant gap in security strategies.
The crucial role of AI in cybersecurity
AI plays a pivotal role in modern cybersecurity, enabling rapid threat detection and response. It empowers organisations to sift through a deluge of alerts and identify real threats efficiently, hence assisting in the mitigation of alert fatigue and significantly reducing false positives.
In this sense, AI is a powerful ally in maintaining a robust security posture correlating many sources of telemetry to build context around the attack surface, further strengthening detection capabilities.
The AI misconception
However, some organisations are mistakenly relying solely on AI-based solutions as a panacea for cybersecurity. Despite investing in state-of-the-art tools, breaches still occur. The reality is that AI alone is insufficient to combat the evolving threat landscape. Overestimating the effectiveness of AI solutions leaves organisations vulnerable.
The need for human expertise
The concept of Cyber Security Operations, a synergy between artificial and human intelligence, is vital. This approach not only enables rapid reactions through means like machine learning and alert triaging, but also enables proactive threat hunting and risk mitigation by humans.
Human experts must leverage the data generated by AI to contextualise the attack surface and undergo the significant processes to strengthen areas of weakness that have been detected by the AI systems. Human expertise is indispensable for interpreting the information generated by AI structures and for proactive security posture management.
Cybercriminals are harnessing AI to create more evasive and adaptive attacks. Even low-level threat actors can leverage AI to craft sophisticated phishing emails and target organisations effectively. This poses a significant risk to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The mastermind criminal’s arsenal
Imagine what a mastermind criminal could accomplish with AI at their disposal. Dynamically evolving attacks, deepfake audio and video for social engineering, AI-driven data manipulation, and forgery are all terrifying possibilities.
AI enhancing threat detection
Despite these challenges, AI significantly improves threat detection capabilities. Machine learning and advanced algorithms enable AI to analyse vast datasets and identify risks far faster than human analysts. AI enables a team to provide 24/7 real-time threat detection and response by allowing the security team to focus only on the alerts that actually matter.
The human element
While AI enhances threat detection and response, human intervention remains crucial. Humans are needed to critically interpret AI-generated information. AI does enable a faster reactive approach to cyber security. However, without the necessary human intervention, would one ever really be strengthening one’s security posture?
The synergy of human experts and AI is what enables an organisation to take a holistic view of their cyber security journey, enabling both a reactive and proactive approach to curbing cyber risk.
Affordable cybersecurity solutions for SMEs that are powered by AI
While certain AI technologies coupled with the necessary human resources may seem expensive for smaller organisations, Managed Detection and Response solutions (MDR) are making this crucial approach to cybersecurity more accessible to SMEs. MDR providers offer AI structures and the necessary manpower for cost-effective cybersecurity strategies.
The cost of breach prevention
Considering the potential cost and impact of a significant breach, the investment in an MDR solution becomes a compelling and cost-effective investment for SMEs concerned about their cybersecurity posture.
Addressing the skills shortage
The cybersecurity industry faces a skills shortage exacerbated by ever increasing cyber risk. AI can help by reducing alert fatigue and allowing human resources to focus on critical tasks. However, there is still a pressing need for cybersecurity professionals with AI-related skills and roles.
These skills are not widely available and hence come at a premium price which can often not be justified by SME’s. MDR solutions provide this capability to the customer, hassle free, at a fraction of the cost.
AI undeniably holds great promise in bolstering cybersecurity efforts, but it is not a standalone solution. A balanced approach, where AI complements human expertise, is essential to effectively combat the evolving cyber threat landscape.
As cyber risks continue to rise, organisations must gain access to AI technologies and skilled professionals in order to build robust and proactive cybersecurity strategies. MDR is the perfect means to access these resources, especially for the SME market.