Companies are racing to improve products and services with artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and other emerging technologies, stoking fears that data is becoming more vulnerable to hackers.
But rather than impeding the pace of innovation, these concerns are prompting many corporate security chiefs to accelerate the development of advanced capabilities, in a bid to turn the tables on attackers by better detecting the misuse of data and keeping it safe.
“Artificial intelligence is a backbone of security initiatives,”
chief innovation officer of social-media analytics firm Graphika Inc., said Tuesday at the WSJ Pro Cybersecurity Executive Forum in New York.
Among other applications, AI is being used in cyberattack modeling, where smart tools identify security vulnerabilities in simulated breaches or hacks, Ms. François said.
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The strategy is to approach your own systems like a hacker, she added, allowing AI-powered apps to find areas that need stronger security features.
chief data scientist and senior principal engineer at cybersecurity-software company McAfee LLC, said the spread of connected devices across the consumer and commercial markets is also adding to security risks.
“The interface between humans and machines is going to be increased, increasing the vulnerability of attack,” Dr. Fralick said. As a response, security chiefs can build AI into these networks as a way to zero in on vulnerabilities in a matter of milliseconds, she said.
Dr. Fralick said a critical element in these efforts is the ability of security leaders to explain the role of complex tools such as AI or quantum computing to chief executives, who have the final say on spending decisions.
“It’s on the data scientist’s shoulders to explain what they are doing,” Dr. Fralick said, adding that CEOs are getting more tech-literate.
Data security is a growing factor in corporate spending decisions, according to Information-technology research firm
Gartner estimates that global spending on data security efforts reached more than $114 billion last year, and is on track to grow 8.7% to $124 billion this year. Securing data is expected to account for at least 10% of total spending this year, primarily related to identity and access management, identity governance and administration and data loss prevention, Gartner says.
Security costs are rising due to higher wages for cybersecurity workers, fueled by a persistent skills shortage, as well as the need to keep up with regulatory changes, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
Despite these efforts, only 17% of consumers surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP last year said they trusted companies with their data more than they did a decade ago. Just 25% said they felt companies handled data responsibly, and nearly 70% said they worried that companies remain vulnerable to hacks and cyberattacks, according to PwC.
Write to Angus Loten at [email protected]
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