How Important is AI to Cyber Defense?

  • Published: Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022

Could artificial intelligence (AI) be the answer to fulfilling our cybersecurity job gaps? AI has become essential to cybersecurity. It has the ability to analyze data quickly and automate threat detection and response more swiftly and effectively than manual techniques or traditional software. It also can reduce duplication of processes handled by a human, freeing them up for other tasks.

AI algorithms allow these systems to detect patterns in malware and react with alerts, blocks and quarantines. This kind of intelligence can help prevent cyber attacks and breaches. As networks become larger and more complex, AI can provide the answer to supporting and protecting those networks with better solutions. If you have a self-learning AI system, it can continually and independently get data from your information systems in order to analyze and create patterns to improve reduction of the attack surface.

There is a downside to AI. It requires a lot of resources and financial investment. In order to create the AI system, you need access to data sets that include codes and anomalies. It's important to note that the cyber criminals also rely on AI to perform their attacks. They can use their own form of AI to learn the same patterns your preventative system uses to discover ways to break through the defenses.

How is AI used in cybersecurity?

  • Vulnerability management - AI can analyze events and user behavior on servers and endpoints and detect anomalies that might indicate an attack.
  • Network Security - AI learns network patterns and make recommendations for functional workload grouping.
  • Data Center - AI can monitor critical processes like bandwidth usage, temperature controls and power consumption and put optimize these processes.
  • Threat Detection - AI can increase detection rates over traditional software solutions.
  • Basic Level Security Tasks - AI can be used for basic tasks such as password management, rerouting work orders and monitoring traffic.

So is AI the perfect fit for your organization?

Artificial intelligence can fulfill many needs for organizations. It is scalable, has the ability to undertake multiple tasks and can eliminate much human error. AI can also assist in filling some of the gaps an organization is facing when dealing with a shortage is cybersecurity personnel. It may be possible to shift responsibilities in order to take advantage of the human intelligence needed in critical areas.

Make sure to keep a budget in mind. Whatever system you seek to build/use, you need to keep several factors in mind:

  • The level of intelligence; performing a single task or multiple?
  • The amount (and quality) of data sets you intend to use. The more you feed it, the more it knows.
  • The accuracy and complexity of the algorithm you will use; this is specific to the application.

Artificial intelligence is not a silver bullet. Just like any other tool, it must be continuously tuned and maintained, and the system needs to be measured for continued effectiveness. Organizations should use caution that they are not chasing the shiny new tool and fully understand the value and implications of AI in their cybersecurity posture.


Read more about AI, machine learning and deep learning.