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AI Market Research: How Generative AI is Revolutionizing Cyber Security

Harish Kumar

By Harish Kumar G S Executive Director – Sales at Check Point Software Technologies, India & SAARC

AI is set to become the best assistant at work and play all around the world. Here in India, fifty one per cent of Indians believe that AI will help them improve productivity at work, according to a PWC survey (India Workforce Hopes & Fears Survey 2023). Pair AI with cyber security and the possibilities (and challenges) are staggering. For many security professionals, it’s a foregone conclusion that incorporating intelligence into cyber security will improve cyber defenses battered by sophisticated cyberattacks.

According to a PwC survey, over two-thirds of companies worldwide plan to implement generative artificial intelligence tools to enhance their cybersecurity solutions within the next year. Notably, around 87% of Indian companies are ahead of the curve, intending to deploy these AI tools for cybersecurity within the next 12 months. Unfortunately, cybercriminals, too, have jumped aboard the AI bandwagon, weaponizing their digitized assaults.

Check Point Software recently partnered with market researchers at Vanson Bourne to understand how security professionals are adopting Generative AI (GenAI) is their practices. A handful of key findings from their research are discussed here.[1]

Skills gap puts a damper on security effectiveness
Despite over 70 percent of respondents feeling confident about their organization’s defenses, eighty-nine percent countered their optimism by acknowledging that employing qualified people was challenging. The cyber security skills gap puts a serious damper on how effective organizations can assemble the right defenses against AI-infused cybercrime.

As of May 2023, there were approximately 40,000 open positions in the cybersecurity industry, highlighting the increasing demand for skilled professionals. However, with a demand-supply gap of 30 percent, the industry in India faces a significant skills shortage.

“An overwhelming 89% of IT and security professionals report a significant skills gap, underscoring the urgent need for innovative solutions.”

Surveyed professionals said the skills gap significantly hampers an organization’s ability to conduct efficient security operations. A substantial 98 percent of those affected reported an “impact” on their security operations, with 40 percent citing a “strong impact.”

Enter GenAI: A reason for optimism

No organization, large or small. can ignore the potential impact of a major cyberattack. As a result, surveyed organizations said they have turned to AI-powered tools to boost cyber security, including incident response, malware protection, and data loss protection. Clearly, AI is etching its role in providing better protection of the digital landscape.

“97-99% of organizations utilize AI-powered tools, with a significant shift towards GenAI for a comprehensive security strategy.”

GenAI benefits and adoption
Organizations have also embraced GenAI for strategic purposes. A significant portion of respondents said they have been leveraging GenAI for over a year to enhance cyber security against sophisticated threats. Improving incident response rates was cited as an example.

All global regions said GenAI tools offer a better understanding of user behavior and anomalies. However, respondents in Europe were less in agreement on whether AI can be linked to higher efficiency such as enhanced threat prevention and detection, streamlined security operations and resource allocation, and reduced manual work for their teams. Nearly 50 percent of APAC professional indicated GenAI offering streamlined security operations and resource allocation, the highest of the three global regions.

The skills gap paradox and GenAI
Bridging the Gap: GenAI can be an ally in addressing the skills gap. It offers a way to augment existing capabilities and improve efficiency, especially in sectors with a high demand for cyber security proficiency.
“Gen-AI is instrumental in closing the cyber security skills gap, with 98% of affected organizations recognizing its impact on operational efficiency.”

Industry-specific insights
The impact of GenAI varies across sectors, with particular benefits observed in healthcare and finance. These sectors recognize Gen-AI’s potential to significantly reduce manual work and increase the efficiency of incident response.

To this survey question, “Thinking about GenAI / AI/ML Deep-Learning, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements,” most respondents agreed that AI tools will improve their efficiency, increase their incident response rates, and help close skills gaps in their organizations.

Here are other results:

  • GenAI has/can significantly reduce manual work for our security team: Healthcare (32% lower)
  • AI/ML Deep Learning has/can greatly increase our efficiency with incident response: Energy, oil/gas, and utilities (36% higher)
  • Gen AI has/can significantly increase our catch rate: Finance/banking/investments (35% higher)
  • AL/ML Deep Learning has/can help to substantially bridge the cyber security skills gap in my organization (for those experiencing skills gap in cyber security operations): Finance/banking/investments (28% improvement)

Figure 4: Research from Vanson Bourne

Investment and Implementation: The Road Ahead
The commitment to integrating GenAI into cyber security is strong, with 90 percent of organizations planning to prioritize AI/ML and GenAI tools. This is accompanied by an anticipated increase in budget allocations for GenAI tools. “90% of organizations prioritize investments in GenAI tools, reflecting a strategic shift towards innovative cyber security solutions.”


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