In simplest terms, artificial intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence by machines and computers. The term has been used since the 1950s, but the technology has made significant leaps in the last decade. It is being used to advance almost every industry imaginable, from healthcare to manufacturing to finance.
The beauty of artificial intelligence is that it can accomplish tasks which are beyond human capacity, both in scope and speed. That’s not to say that computers are smarter than us ‒ yet ‒ but they can certainly work faster and more efficiently.
There’s significant buzz around artificial intelligence for cyber security because AI can scan and analyze enormous volumes of data in a fraction of the time a person could. Artificial intelligence is already reshaping cyber security, but these are some of the ways it will increasingly help us protect our data and keep hackers at bay in the future.
Detecting breaches earlier
Past methods of fighting cyber crime ‒ and even some current methods ‒ focused on detecting data breaches after they occurred. Considerable damage could be done long before an attack was recognized, let alone stopped.
Using the most basic form of artificial intelligence, machine learning (ML), modern cyber security technology can scan huge amounts of data to pinpoint unusual behavior patterns long before a human would. In fact, ML can pinpoint problems or abnormalities that a human might never find. Hackers can be stopped before they have time to cause harm.
The great thing about machine learning is that it keeps improving over time. This form of artificial intelligence learns from past data and human input.
Going one step further, artificial intelligence can identify cyber security risks and threats before they are problems. Long before a hacker spots a vulnerability, a computer can flag it and notify cyber security staff. Companies can stay ahead of hackers in a way that just wasn’t possible before. Rather than a whack-a-mole approach, prevention can be the focus.
Boosting security teams
Skilled cyber security workers are in short supply across the globe, leaving security teams short-staffed and stressed. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can automate all sorts of security tasks that once had to be done manually, freeing up employee time to focus on the most important tasks or tasks that require a human touch. AI can take a cyber security team’s skills and greatly multiply them without adding staff.
For many companies, the volume of security-related data flowing in and out requires the help of artificial intelligence because it would be impossible for the staff to handle.
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Along the same lines, artificial intelligence and machine learning can take over simple cyber security procedures such as searching for known attacks and vulnerabilities. This frees up staff time to focus on the newest attack vectors, as well as identifying new types of threats. This helps an organization stay ahead of hackers, rather than catching up to them.
Artificial intelligence is capable of categorizing or classifying threats based on the amount of risk they pose. This gives cyber security workers quick and easy access to information about which threats to address first. No time is wasted on prioritizing, so staff can work more efficiently. The systems aren’t perfect yet, but the technology continues to improve.
Working behind the scenes
AI can handle the detection and prevention of certain threats without the need to involve a human. It can solve problems cyber security staff never knew existed. Once again, this is a huge time-saver, making teams vastly more efficient without adding staff.
Another piece of good news: artificial intelligence doesn’t make mistakes when it comes to this work. All threats are handled according to specific rules and standards. The computer always chooses the strongest method of response, while a human might not.