ISACA: Businesses are Harnessing AI Despite Limited Training

An ISACA study finds businesses and IT professionals are utilising AI with limited organisational training, highlighting a need to close the skills gap

The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) has found that, whilst nearly three-quarters of businesses say their staff are using AI at work, as much as 70% offer little to no training for those harnessing the technology.

On top of training, just 17% of organisations have formal AI policies in place for their employees.

This comes in the midst of concerns that, whilst generative AI (Gen AI) investments are continuing to rise, the global skills gap persists. Adopting AI too early without a clear strategy could be detrimental for businesses, leaving them vulnerable to a data breach and widespread internal skills gaps.

Given that AI is already transforming the way that cyber criminals operate, ISACA highlights that IT and cyber professionals must continue to upskill themselves and develop a better understanding of AI to better protect their organisations.

An obvious gap in AI education

Despite such widespread use of AI in a business setting, just 30% of European organisations reported to ISACA that they provide limited training to employees in tech-related positions. In addition, 40% offer no training at all.

However, issues around AI aren’t limited to the absence of training in the workplace. In fact, ISACA finds that AI policies are also lacking, with only 17% of organisations having a formal, comprehensive AI policy in place. Policies like this are useful for employees knowing how they should and shouldn’t be harnessing the technology in the workplace.

In addition, businesses and IT professionals are reporting a gap in education around AI. When asked how familiar respondents were with the technology, 74% were only somewhat familiar or not very familiar at all. 

To add to the concerns, when asked about Gen AI being exploited by bad actors, 61% of respondents were extremely or very worried that this might happen. When ISACA compared data from last year’s survey, it found the sentiment has virtually not improved. 

“AI is going to continue to come to the fore, helping to shape the way that IT and cybersecurity industries transform and innovate. AI is being used twofold - bad actors are weaponising it to develop more sophisticated cyberattacks and in response it is being used by cyber professionals to better detect and respond to those threats,” says Chris Dimitriadis, Chief Global Strategy Officer at ISACA.

“If businesses are to see the benefits of using AI, they need to have the right skills in place in order to be able to identify new threat models, risks and controls.”

An urgent need for upskilling

Upskilling and training are currently in high demand, according to ISACA, with 34% of respondents believing they will need to increase their skills and knowledge of AI in the next six months. Additionally, just over a quarter (27%) state they will need to do so in the next seven months to a year, to retain their job or advance their career. 

In total, ISACA found an overwhelming 86% of respondents feel that this training will be necessary within the next two years.

AI and Gen AI tools have great potential to revolutionise business operations. However, organisations must act now to close the skills gap to avoid project failures and unlock the full benefits of AI.

Chris adds: “As cyber criminals use AI to carry out increasingly sophisticated and targeted attacks, it’s more important than ever for cyber professionals to have formal training and clear company policies on AI to follow. Businesses can upskill their teams and keep pace with the evolving threat that the rise of AI poses, protecting their reputation and strengthening customer trust.” 


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