The Impact of AI on Cybersecurity: A Need for Preparedness

ISC2 reveals that, whilst AI can offer security benefits, businesses must navigate cyber and ethics challenges by investing in threat-prevention policies

Within the workforce, employees are starting to view enterprise AI as inevitable.

A new study conducted by leading cybersecurity non-profit ISC2 Study reveals the real-world impact of AI on cyber professionals and the urgent need for business to be better prepared as a result. Overwhelmingly, 88% of respondents view AI as significantly impacting their jobs, either now or in the near future, with 35% having already witnessed the transformative effects of AI.

Whilst AI holds great potential to counter cyber threats and improve safety effectiveness, ISC2 also highlights an urgent need for businesses to be better prepared to mitigate cyber risks and safeguard their infrastructure.

Collaboration needed to ensure safe AI adoption

With the number of cyberattacks, including ransomware threats, hitting record levels, there is a large fear within the business landscape that AI presents a very real threat to business survival. Many organisations surveyed last year discussed how they worry that digital threats will ultimately force their operations to cease over the next year. 

The cyber profession is still evaluating the full implications of AI. If the technology is integrated successfully into security tools moving forward, in addition to businesses becoming more cyber-aware, AI could hold great enterprise value moving forward.

Whilst ISC2 reports that 82% of respondents expressed optimism that AI will improve job efficiency and free up time for higher-value tasks, 75% are concerned that the technology will be used for cyberattacks or other malicious activities.

ISC2 also finds that there is a growing disparity between AI expertise and the level of preparedness to navigate these concerns, citing deepfakes, misinformation and social engineering as the top three concerns currently for cyber professionals.

Gen, the parent company of Norton, has already suggested that social engineering attacks in particular will become a much more pronounced threat in 2024, sparking even more AI governance debates.

However, despite such concerns, only 27% of those surveyed by ISC2 said their organisation has policies in place to utilise AI safely and ethically. In fact, 41% reported that they currently have minimal or no expertise in securing AI and machine learning technology - suggesting serious consequences if something were to go wrong.

Likewise, only 27% of participants said their organisation has formal policies in place on the safe and ethical use of AI, with 39% stating their organisation is currently discussing a formal policy.

The takeaway is that businesses would benefit from truly investing into AI value, whether that be via digitally upskilling their workforces or promoting greater transparency when it comes to AI security.

“Cybersecurity professionals anticipate both the opportunities and challenges AI presents, and are concerned their organisations lack the expertise and awareness to introduce AI into their operations securely,” says Clar Rosso, CEO of ISC2. 

“This creates a tremendous opportunity for cybersecurity professionals to lead, applying their expertise in secure technology and ensuring its safe and ethical use. In fact, ISC2 has developed AI workshops to foster the expert-led collaboration the cybersecurity workforce needs to address this challenge,” she continues.

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