Artificial intelligence has become an indelible part of daily life for nearly everyone. Although it’s influencing nearly everything from how we shop to what we watch on television to how we receive healthcare, one area where AI has had a transformative influence is in the realm of cybersecurity.
Just a few years ago, experts predicted that AI was the future of cybersecurity, with some going so far as to say that machine learning would ultimately render humans obsolete when it comes to protecting data and networks. Those predictions have been scaled back some, with most agreeing that nothing can replace the human role in security, but that doesn’t mean that AI hasn’t become a cornerstone of most security products and strategies.
The martech industry is no stranger to AI, with many organizations already using cloud-based AI and machine learning tools to develop more personalized and conversational campaigns. Companies shouldn’t overlook, though, the role that AI plays in security, and how it’s improving the ability to predict and prevent future events, as well as more effectively identify security breaches before they cause substantial loss.
How Security Pros Want to Use AI
Despite the seeming focus on AI as a standalone security technology, most IT security professionals see it as part of overall cloud security solutions. AI is a tool that gives their existing security solutions more power, by providing the analytics necessary to be more efficient and effective at identifying and mitigating risks.
More specifically, IT pros are looking at AI to accomplish several key things:
- Provide more insight into security across the entire network
- Improve incident detection and response, in particular speeding it up
- Improve risk identification and communication
It’s with these priorities in mind that security developers are implementing AI capabilities into tools, which is in turn making some noticeable changes to how cybersecurity in general is managed.
Where AI Excels
By all accounts, we are only at the beginning of the age of artificial intelligence and have barely scratched the surface of the technological capabilities. That being said, AI is already revolutionizing security efforts in several ways.
Faster incident response. In 2015, it took an average of 146 days for companies to notice a data breach or other issue on their network. Within a year, that average dropped to 99 days. This is thanks in large part to AI, which is becoming continually more adept at identifying patterns, and spotting anomalies. The more information that AI has to go on – i.e., a greater sense of what’s “normal” – the easier it becomes to identify abnormal situations.
Improved incident response. Not only does AI allow for the faster identification of security issues, it also improves that response. In a disaster or emergency situation, AI’s predictive capabilities can provide insight into the extent of the problem and the remaining risk. Armed with this information, security teams can make more informed decisions that solve the problem quickly, rather than waste time on measures that prove ineffective in the long run.
Improved cloud integration. For years, one of the major objections to using the cloud was the security risk. With AI tools, concerns about security are diminished. They are still there, of course, but with AI-based scanning tools monitoring the cloud infrastructure, there is greater peace of mind that the data stored in the cloud is secure, and that any intrusions or malware will be spotted and handled swiftly.
Despite these advantages, AI works best when combined with human intelligence and intuition. While they have the benefit of being able to work together to continuously monitor multiple systems and machines, without a human eye to investigate, AI could make incorrect assessments. For example, unknown anomalies must be looked at to determine whether they are a true security risk, or a simple glitch in the system, something that needs to be done by humans. Human feedback remains a key aspect of any AI tool’s ability to learn; after all, you can’t simply “turn on” AI and expect it to work.
The bottom line, then, is that while AI is changing the world of cybersecurity, and creating many benefits for the martech industry, it works best when combined with the human element – much like any successful marketing effort.