Getting Smarter About Cyber Security

  • The use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology for cyber security is on the rise, according to recent research
  • Cloud-based AI security products are expected to grow quickly
  • Organizations are adopting AI-based tools to identify threats, reduce response time, and improve techniques to find issues that require immediate action

Security executives and teams need to find ways to stay ahead of cyber criminals and other bad actors, because falling behind can lead to damaging and costly attacks. One possible solution: Artificial intelligence (AI).

AI could provide the edge cyber security programs need to mitigate risk, and it’s likely AI will play an increasingly important role in protecting corporate data and networks in the coming years.

Recent research provides some insights into the rise of AI as a key security component. A report by market research and business consulting services firm P&S Intelligence said the global AI in cyber security market will see a compound annual growth rate of 26% between 2020 and 2030, reaching $101.8 billion by the end of the period.

Digital transformations in various industries, increasing mobile Internet penetration, a shift from traditional banking to digital banking, and rising investments by government, IT, and financial institutions in AI technology are among the key factors contributing to the growth of the market.

The software segment of the market is projected to see the fastest growth during the forecast period. Different types of software are required in AI systems, the report noted. These include application program interfaces (APIs) for language, speech, sensor data, and vision, as well as machine learning (ML) algorithms to understand the cyber security applications.

With machine learning, cyber security teams can analyze patterns and learn from them, so they can prevent similar attacks and respond to changing behavior. They can therefore be more proactive in preventing threats and responding to active attacks in real time.

As for deployment method, the researchers expect cloud-based AI security products to grow quickly during the forecast period. Predictive security in the cloud has led to innovative approaches to stopping cyber attacks, by enabling organizations to collect and analyze unfiltered endpoint data to make predictions about and protect users against future cyber attacks.

Organizations are rapidly adopting AI-based tools to identify threats, reduce response time, and improve techniques to single out issues that require immediate countermeasures, according to the report.

Because large companies have been strengthening their cyber security infrastructure with AI products, the study said, attackers are now targeting mid-sized companies. But that is further driving the demand for AI-powered cyber security measures.

The coronavirus pandemic is also helping to drive the use of AI in cyber security, P&S Intelligence said. With many organizations shifting to a work-from-home model and the global focus on healthcare, the number of attacks has “drastically risen,” the report said.

Cyber criminals are leveraging the COVID-19 subject to launch newer and more effective attacks, and that is driving more demand for AI cyber security solutions. Companies offering AI-based security are taking steps to enhance their portfolio of cyber security offerings, offer advanced network security systems, strengthen their offerings with network isolation tools, and provide anomaly and real-time threat detection support for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Network security accounted for the biggest share of the AI in cyber security market in 2019, the report said, with growth primarily driven by the rise in adoption of wireless networks and their vulnerabilities. Enterprises are increasingly depending on wireless networks for data transfer, and having better network security reduces the risk of threats.

As for specific types of products, data loss prevention (DLP) tools are expected to see the fastest growth in the AI in cyber security market during the forecast period. This can be attributed to the key role of DLP technology in identifying, monitoring, and protecting data in storage as well as in motion over networks, P&S Intelligence says.

Among the AI-based tools showing particular promise for security applications are chatbots. The adoption of AI technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning will enable chatbots to fight cyber threats in the coming years, the report said. Advanced chatbots can decrease the vulnerability of systems by funneling communications through highly secure protocols, it said, preventing attacks such as email phishing.

Another recent report, by research firm Meticulous Research, also projects healthy growth for AI in cyber security. The emergence of disruptive digital technologies across different industries, increase in demand for advanced cyber security solutions, rise in frequency and complexity of cyber threats, and consistent technological developments are the key factors driving growth, the study said.

In addition, the growing need for cloud-based security tools among small and medium-sized businesses and the rising adoption of 5G technology is encouraging the growth of AI for security.

Meticulous predicts the machine learning technology segment will account for the largest share of the overall AI in cyber security market in 2020, and will grow the fastest during the forecast period. The large share and rapid growth is mainly due to the capability of machine learning to collect, process, and handle big volumes of data that originate from different sources.

Machine learning will help security teams make predictions based on the data, forecast threats, and analyze real-time user behavior patterns to protect networks from potential threats.

The banking/financial services/insurance sector is expected to account for the largest share of the overall AI in cyber security market in 2020, Meticulous said. This is mainly due to the increasing sophistication of attacks and the rising number of financial and banking fraud instances and attacks.

It’s the manufacturing sector that’s projected to see the fastest growth rate during the forecast period, however. This is due to the rising sophistication levels of attacks, increasing government funding to improve security in the industrial environment, the advent of industrial 4.0, the increasing number of malware attacks, and the increase in adoption of IoT devices.