Businesses increasingly bolster cybersecurity with AI

20 August 2019 4 min. read
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Many firms are already using AI in their cybersecurity initiatives, or plan to introduce it very soon. According to a new report, almost three-quarters of firms are testing AI in cybersecurity use cases in some way to more rapidly tackle cyber-threats in the future.

Even as digital technology continues to revolutionise modern business – presenting major opportunities to cut costs, increase productivity, and improve customer service – the vast and rapid changes it has led to also present huge opportunities for digital-savvy scam-artists. Cyber-crime has subsequently boomed in the last decade, and in the UK alone cyber-attacks spiralled upwards by 140% in 2018.

Traditionally, upgrading cyber-security in businesses has consisted of laboriously attempting to keep tabs on the next trend among hackers. This is something that has often led to those seeking to defend their data being one step behind criminals, while costing firms large quantities of precious time and resources. To that end, according to a new study from Capgemini, 56% of cybersecurity analysts at businesses are “overwhelmed” by the task at hand, and 23% suggest they cannot successfully investigate all identified cyber-incidents, as 42% are finding increases in incidents through time-sensitive applications.

Businesses increasingly bolster cyber-security with AI

While cyber-analysts might be over-stretched at present, however, the tide may well be about to turn in the fight against cyber-crime. Capgemini found that a growing number of firms are suddenly realising that cyber-security is also a process they can automate, with the hope of giving their analysts more time and space to tackle threats quickly and decisively.

According to the survey of 850 senior executives across the consumer products, retail, banking, insurance, automotive, utilities, and telecom sectors, while only one-fifth of organisations used artificial intelligence (AI) in their cyber-security offering before 2019, almost two-thirds of organisations plan to do so by 2020. At the same time, close to half (48%) said that budgets for AI in cybersecurity will increase by an average of 29% in the next financial year.

At present, the majority of firms using AI said its highest cyber-security utilisation came in terms of detecting threats. While 51% of respondents also favoured medium use of AI utilisation to help predict where threats may occur next, the human touch still seems to be preferred in terms of responding to hacks. More than a third of businesses using AI still reported low utilisation in this aspect of their cyber-security capabilities.

Organizations are counting on AI to help identify threats and thwart attacks

The benefits of leveraging AI for cyber-security go beyond preventing attackers from accessing data, meanwhile. According to 64% of those polled, AI has led to cost savings in cyber-security provision, by lowering the cost of detecting each breach. While 10% of respondents said they reduced their detection cost by more than 15%, in terms of the cost to recover from a breach from IT systems perspective, a higher 17% of companies enjoyed a more than 15% reduction in spending, suggesting companies could enjoy drastic improvements to their bottom-lines by investing now.

The UK is one of the nations which is leading the charge when it comes to the implementation of AI in cyber-security. A majority (72%) of survey respondents in Britain said they would not be able to respond to cyber-attacks without AI, while only Australia (73%) and the US (83%) surpassed that level of enthusiasm.

Commenting on the findings, Geert van der Linden, Cybersecurity Business Lead at Capgemini Group, said, “Organisations are facing an unparalleled volume and complexity of cyber threats and have woken up to the importance of AI as the first line of defence. As cybersecurity analysts are overwhelmed, close to a quarter of them declaring they are not able to successfully investigate all identified incidents, it is critical for organisations to increase investment and focus on the business benefits that AI can bring in terms of bolstering their cybersecurity.”