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How AI secures enterprises

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By CHARLES BARRATT, principal business solutions architect for EMEA EUC Strategic Accounts at VMware

Despite the hype that exists around it, we have to remember that in its current format, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is actually quite limited with what it can offer. Why? Because AI and Machine Learning (ML) are based on data – it doesn’t have opinions of its own. When I talk to Alexa, I can ask it what the weather will be tomorrow, the bookies favourite for the next Bond actor or how long to roast a chicken for, and it will be able to give you a fairly accurate answer. Yet when, after the 1000th time that week of hearing it, I ask why the song Baby Shark went viral, I’m faced with silence.

But whilst you can have a lot of fun testing the ability of your Alexa or other AI technology, there are some practical applications of AI that can transform the workplace.

As a society, we are starting to interchange the terms Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML) without fully understanding what the nuances are between them. AI can be described as intelligent machines that mirror a human’s approach to solving challenges. An extension of this, is machine learning which is the act of leveraging vast amounts of data to automate a response.

These concepts are not new, but have been made possible through:

  • Huge amounts of data being generated by systems
  • Internet scale and reach
  • Better computing resources

We know that automated processes can help with productivity and empower the workforce to express their creativity. However, companies are struggling to find a balance between employee experience and maintaining the sufficient levels of security required within the enterprise. Two crucial attributes that can help with this are insights and intelligence. So how can businesses harness the power of AI to help build these qualities?

What security challenges do we face?

As we advance as a society, so do the tools we use. AI should be seen as simply another weapon businesses can use to help them succeed, rather than something that should be feared. And this applies to security. CEOs who are now responsible for digital security, are heavily reliant on the IT function to deliver this. If a business doesn’t know where a device is being logged into, by which employee and which applications they’re accessing – how can they ensure that their enterprise is secure? Visibility is a core part of a security approach, because the traditional perimeter methods are obsolete and more sophisticated attacks are inevitable.  It doesn’t come as any surprise that two areas of significant interest are UEBA (User Entity Behaviour Analytics) to deliver a context based access to users and SOAR (Security Orchestration and Automation Response) to ensure that attacks are remediated swiftly with minimal manual process.

Mobile devices have become a great source of cyber security breaches and there’s a lot of technology available to help mitigate these threats. Whilst this might seem like a positive, the result is an extremely complex environment, with multiple security systems that aren’t integrated, and information remains insecure. These clouds of information have become siloed; split into the different business functions – HR, IT, marketing, sales etc. IT will historically focus on devices and the data associated with them, and the other business units will focus on their relevant applications and data.

Businesses need a way to view the entire digital workspace across all endpoints, apps, networks and user experience, to enable them to pin point what is and isn’t working in the environment and adopt a zero trust approach to security.

Click here to read about why one needs AI, and how business benefits.

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