2020 saw a massive disruption of how businesses operated with employees around the world being forced to work remotely. But the same IT infrastructure that made work-from-home a feasible daily reality for the global workforce also created a multitude of vulnerabilities susceptible to a new wave of cyber threats.

As our devices, systems, and data continue to grow in number, size, and complexity, it has become impossible to track and monitor them for security breaches manually. It is thus inevitable for artificial intelligence to be deployed for cyber-security. Here’s how AI can improve cyber-security in the coming year.

Endpoint Security in Remote Working Models

With the geographically distant IT systems that accompany remote-working, it becomes a major challenge to track cybersecurity incidents. With the number of devices increasing exponentially and connecting to the network over various infrastructure platforms, it is impossible to monitor them manually.

Attackers are constantly trying to capitalize on the pandemic-induced chaos within IT systems. Cybersecurity professionals must assume that all remote endpoints or devices are located in hostile environments and protect connections appropriately. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning can help reinforce BIOS level technologies to enable more resilient and secure endpoint connections.

Authentication

As the number of remote users increases, there is a greater need for identity and access management. Using a dynamic combination of adaptive multi-factor authentication and privilege access management can help organizations reduce the risk of cyber breaches. Artificial Intelligence can keep track of all the users connected to the system at any time, monitor their usage patterns and privileges, and detect anomalies to flag any access-related risks.

Identity and Access Management

With most businesses moving their operations to cloud-based services, it has become impossible for IT security teams to manually monitor the entities accessing these services. In the current scenario, AI solutions have become imperative for enforcing the principle of least privilege across organizations.

Vulnerability and Threat Detection

Enterprise applications have changed over the years to become larger and more complex. Along with the consequent exponential increase in the volume and complexity of data, this has created an immense attack surface for cyber-security teams to monitor and reinforce.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have become necessary tools to detect risks and threats. Cyber-security is usually more of a reactive rather than proactive process. AI solutions can not only help identify breaches quickly and reduce incident response times, but also help organizations move towards preventing attacks by identifying and neutralizing vulnerabilities before they are taken advantage of.

Monitor Open-Source Components

With rapid changes in the technology landscapes and ever-reducing delivery timelines, organizations across the world are turning to open-source software for their IT needs. However, open-source packages often prove to be gaping holes in system security. Not only are they prone to accidental vulnerabilities, but they can also be exploited by malicious actors as an easy entry-point into the system.

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning can help scan open-source packages for vulnerabilities and even help identify and flag users with suspicious patterns and possible malicious contributions based on their activity.

Protect New Technology Solutions

The past year has seen organizations around the world adopting cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to contest the disruption caused by the pandemic by increasing efficiency, productivity, and innovation. These solutions are an entirely new kind of attack surface, and organizations will need to invest in AI-based security systems to protect them.

Compete against Threat Innovation

Cyber-security is a constant dance of one-upmanship against skilled and malicious actors. Traditionally, cyber-security teams rely on historical data and behaviour patterns to detect threats. But with the changing landscape, it has become crucial for them to remain one step ahead of attackers in order to prevent breaches.

Artificial Intelligence has become a necessary tool for threat protection as we can be rest assured that hackers are utilizing every tool possible to detect and exploit vulnerabilities in IT systems including artificial intelligence and machine learning. In order to be able to keep up against their attacks, it is a must for cyber-security teams to employ the same tools in their defences.

Address Cyber-Security Skill Shortage

As IT systems grow larger and the number of cyber-threats loom equally large, a significant shortage in the number of skilled cyber-security professionals has become apparent. The sudden upswing in the number of employees working remotely has only increased the opportunities for hackers to attack. This has placed immense load on the existing cyber-security teams.

Artificial Intelligence can take over several routine security tasks such as recognizing suspicious email activity, user behaviour, phishing attacks, spam email, etc, and allow organizations to automate their protection against these threats. This can help free up time for experienced cyber-security professionals to train new employees to meet the skill gap.