As cyberattacks increase in sophistication and severity, the IT industry is collectively working to improve many of the systems designed to fight back and prevent such attacks. One avenue experts are currently exploring relates to AI and machine learning, two technologies that vastly improve the automation of cybersecurity protections.
When it comes to always-on, instant solutions like cloud computing platforms, AI can significantly improve security on many fronts, not just by locking out would-be hackers. The technology can also help monitor security vulnerabilities and violations, many of which stem from user errors.
According to research, by 2025, 85% of successful attacks against modern company user endpoints will take advantage of setup and user errors, instead of through advanced malware. In other words, people tend to be the weakest link in the security chain.
What else can AI cybersecurity solutions do? How do they improve security overall?
With the appropriate data, machine learning solutions can accurately predict future events. Experts use troves of information or digital content to build a predictive model, which shows precisely how events might play out. In industries like retail, this might help businesses prepare for coming changes in the market, like a lull in demand or a supply spike. In cybersecurity, it can assist an understanding of potential threats and simulate how they will play out.
Event prediction models serve multiple purposes. First, they reveal how events might happen, where threats may come from and what that means. Second, they allow organizations to better prepare for similar activities, creating a shorter cycle between detection and remediation.
In the future, with proactive and hyper-speed operational changes, alongside market reactions, AI-powered enterprises will respond to customers, competitors, regulators, and partners faster than their peers.
2. Automated Detection and Action
Alongside predictive models, an automated system can be put into place — powered by an AI cloud — that is capable of analyzing and reacting to various events. Rather than waiting for information to flow through a security team hierarchy until someone makes a decision, the AI responds almost instantly to a threat. It can do things like a lockout or prevent users, shut down various systems or ports or even block specific traffic.
By utilizing such a system, companies can detect and deal with threats faster than ever before, within minutes or hours. In fact, 87% of IT and data protection professionals say that cloud computing has enabled either better or more cost-effective protection of their organization’s data.
3. Robust Data Controls
Data leaks can and do happen, and a lot of times — barring a severe security vulnerability — they are a direct result of unauthorized and unfettered access. Users who shouldn’t have access to a particular set of data do, and their accounts or platforms get breached, resulting in a much more massive attack.
By combining AI with network and gateway security, endpoint protection and advanced authentication, administrators can lock down systems so that they’re nearly air-tight, preventing potential threats, specifically from insiders. User monitoring can help to identify suspicious activity so that organizations discover and shut down hackers relatively early.
An excellent example is cloud security identity software, which allows providers to lock down user access, albeit through a reliable and efficient protocol. It lets in precisely those that need access and keeps out those that don’t.
4. Vulnerability Discovery
Cloud computing technologies may be secure on the backend and server-side, but that certainly doesn’t exclude them from potential threats. User errors, inadequate security measures and a multitude of other vulnerabilities can pose a problem. Sometimes, those issues can go unseen for weeks or even years, which is why so many software applications receive critical security patches late in the game.
AI can explore and identify potential problems, essentially allowing developers to patch up security holes. It can also identify areas where users and team members might need more training, further boosting security.
5. Real-Time Monitoring and Alerts
While active, the AI can learn — through algorithms — to detect various events and suspicious behavior and alert the necessary security crews. Companies can use it in combination with automated action systems to bolster security awareness and preventive measures. Not only does the AI take control and react to the problem, but it also lets everyone know what’s happening, why and when. The security teams are then fully aware of events or attacks and can support the system as necessary.
This innovation creates a collaborative security system that involves everyone and everything at a department’s disposal. AI-enabled technology offers 20 times more effective attack surface coverage than traditional methods.
Automation Is Key in Cloud Security
Ultimately, AI solutions provide the option to automate cybersecurity operations, which is necessary for cloud computing. AI and cybersecurity go hand-in-hand, and proof of that is how rampant adoption has been over the past few years.
Nearly one-third of CISOs adopted AI in response to growing cybersecurity concerns. That trend will continue as more discover the actual benefits of an AI-powered cloud security platform.