As long as the business has existed, buzzwords and trends have likely made their rounds. “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) is one of today’s finest examples. Businesses and organizations everywhere are hurriedly trying to figure out how AI can be utilized and applied to their operations. Because of this, plenty of misinformation and poorly executed applications exist that can muddle sound advice. This article will provide a straightforward discussion of the application of AI to cyber security, an arena where AI can offer specific and tangible benefits for your business.
What is AI?
Let’s start with the basics – what AI is and what it is not. A fair amount of misnaming and misunderstanding occurs within the business, often incorrectly labeling software or systems as AI when they are in actuality simply instances of data analytics, business intelligence, or cloud computing. AI refers specifically to “technologies that can understand, learn, and act based on acquired and derived information.”
AI is software that is capable of making its own “decisions” and changing in nature and ability. It analyzes previous processes and actions to better “understand” its purpose. It increases the accuracy of its actions and the ways it can act autonomously over time. In this way, true AI systems are almost like employees because the value they can offer and their performance in their roles improves the longer they do them.
How AI Can Be Used for Cyber Security?
Cyber security is an aspect of business to which AI is being applied with robust success. Because of its nature, AI can effectively process larger amounts of information than humans can and can learn from previous breaches or instances to monitor systems and prevent attacks over time more effectively.
Cyber-attacks are usually conducted by or designed by hackers using various means and methods of infiltration. Though the world of hacking includes “ordained” attacks that test systems and are conducted or contracted legally and with an organization’s knowledge, most cases of hacking are unwelcome and need to be combatted. Specific ways AI can be implemented in a cyber security plan can include monitoring for data breaches and attacks, analysis of those occurrences to strengthen defenses in the future, password and authentication management, and phishing or spam email analysis and detection.
Advantages of Applying AI
Because of the nature of AI tools and systems, they can offer a number of benefits that, when leveraged strategically, can immensely improve your cyber security efforts. AI learns as it goes. Its evolving nature makes it an investment that grows in value over time, continually increasing its effectiveness and efficacy as it operates. Because of this, investing resources in implementing AI can be a strategic and cost-effective way to ensure strong cyber security that grows in value and effectiveness. Other methods, like utilizing cyber security experts alone, can become less effective over time – as cyber threats evolve, they must invest concerted time in continuing education, which detracts from the time they can spend actively monitoring and protecting your organization’s systems.
AI can also process far more data than conventional software and human cybersecurity experts. AI can be an incredibly robust cybersecurity measure that can monitor large systems more effectively than any other cybersecurity strategy available. This makes AI softwares particularly advantageous for systems that span many entry points, integrations, or geographical areas (multiple server systems, cloud computing, or international customer or employee locations).
Utilizing AI reduces the margin of error. Human cybersecurity experts monitor vast systems and watch for suspicious happenings, slight disturbances, and deviations from the norm. Humans have the propensity to become complacent, distracted, or bored. Even the most diligent human security expert can lose focus, be tired or compromised at certain times, or simply miss subtle clues that could indicate an attack or weakness in a system. AI applications do not suffer from human variability.
Finally, AI can often detect disturbances more quickly than alternative means of cybersecurity. Because it can be “trained” to locate more subtle indicators and can also operate at full capacity 24/7/365 (which is much more difficult to replicate by human means even with large teams of cybersecurity professionals), AI can provide superior alert and response times compared to other strategies.
If your business or organization is in the process of considering AI for your cybersecurity strategy, a few steps will help you navigate the process efficiently and ensure the best chance of choosing an AI system that will benefit your organization.
First, find the AI platform or tool that fits your business needs. Every organization is different. The type of information and data assets you store, the size of your team and customer base, the particulars of your system and software, the existing method of cybersecurity you employ, the resources available to purchase and implement new tools, and more all affect the decision and should be considered well during your process.
Second, make sure you enact a solid implementation plan. Creating changes within your organization, even when it seems like it should affect only one aspect of your operations or one team or department, can be a daunting task and should be done thoroughly. Organizations that don’t invest adequate time and intentionality in quality implementations pay for it in the long run. Prioritizing time for cross-department sessions and decision-making, engaging corporate trainers and facilitators, and more can help smooth the transition into new processes.
Finally, keep learning. Just like any other technological field, AI will continue to shift and change. Keeping up to date with current advances and best practices will keep your organization savvy and well-protected.