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AI, a cybersecurity weapon in the IoT era

Businesses are struggling to address increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity attacks.

According to a recent report, the severity is worsened by two reasons, the weakening IT perimeters in this mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) era, and the shortage of skilled security professionals.

To address this issue, IT security teams need a new approach as well as powerful new tools to protect data and other high-value assets.

A new global research study by Ponemon Institute, in partnership with an IT company, showed that artificial intelligence (AI) may be a key weapon to win the battle against stealthy threats inside their IT infrastructures.

4,000 security and IT professionals across Australia, America, Europe and Asia were surveyed in the study called, “Closing the IT Security Gap with Automation & AI in the Era of IoT”, to understand what makes security deficiencies so difficult to fix.

Moreover, it also aimed to understand what types of technologies and processes are needed to stay a step ahead of bad actors within a new threat landscape.

The research revealed that 51% of Australian respondents agree with security systems incorporating machine learning and that other AI-based technologies are essential for detecting and stopping attacks that target users and IoT devices.

The majority of local respondents agree that security products with AI functionality will help to:

  • Increase their team’s effectiveness (58%)
  • Provide greater investigation efficiencies (71%)
  • Advance their ability to quickly discover and respond to stealthy attacks that have evaded perimeter defence systems (56%)

32% percent of local respondents said that they are using some form of machine-learning or other AI-based security solution.

Another 22% stated that they plan on deploying these types of products within the next 12 months.

Despite huge investments in cybersecurity programs, the research found that most APAC businesses are still unable to stop advanced, targeted attacks.

59% believed that they are not realising the full value of their defence arsenal, which ranges from 10 to 75 security solutions.

It has become very challenging to protect complex and dynamically changing attack surfaces, particularly with the lack of security staff having the necessary skills and expertise to battle persistent, sophisticated, highly trained, and well-financed attackers.

AI-based security tools, which can automate tasks and free up IT personnel to manage other aspects of a security program, were viewed as critical for helping businesses keep up with increasing threat levels.

According to the research, majority of APAC IT security teams believe that a key gap in the overall security strategy of their company is their inability to identify attacks that use IoT devices as the point of entry.

The most effective approaches to better protect their environments were continuous monitoring of network traffic, compliance monitoring tools, and detecting behavioural anomalies among peer groups of IoT devices.

56% of APAC respondents stated that network access control (NAC) is an important element of their company’s overall security strategy and critical for reducing the reach of inside exploits.

Even though 72% of APAC respondents say that their organisations deploy NAC, it is alarming to find out that only 14% of them are confident that they know all the users and devices connected to their network all the time.

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