AI Investment Increases, but so do Security Fears

AI Investment Increases, but so do Security Fears

New research from IT management software specialist Ipswitch has revealed rapid adoption of intelligent machines – machines with decision making and learning capabilities – used for automating and optimizing business and IT processes, with 92% of IT professionals quizzed saying that technology is now central to the success of their business.

According to the research – which was carried out by analyst firm Freeform Dynamics – investment in intelligent business systems and automation is well underway across the globe, with digital customer management systems, process automation and workflow systems, and risk monitoring and management solutions revealed to be top current deployment areas among those polled.

Further, more than three-quarters believe such solutions will remove the drudgery from IT operations, while just 32% fear that intelligent systems will lead to them being out of a job.

“There’s so much to do, it’s the whole network complexity now,” Tony Lock, distinguished analyst at Freeform Dynamics, told Infosecurity.

“Networks used to be very simple things, they were almost linear. Now you’ve got so many interlocked, spider networks and you’ve got so much connectivity from the outside that you don’t actually control the endpoints – data is coming to you from cloud services that you’re not using, it’s coming to you from your partners; the connections are not fixed. That whole network visibility is now impossible for someone to do in real time unless you’ve got an army, and no company has got an army of skilled network engineers that can look at this stuff”.

Networks and risks are changing all the time; you’ve got to have more automatic processes to ensure you are exploiting things as well as possible and that you’re using your networks sufficiently, Lock added.

“When you do something manually, if you’re not really focused and concentrating on it then it’s very easy to let something slip,” he argued. “The more that you can automate the network management side of things you reduce the potential for manual error coming in. If you take that side out you just reduce the whole risk opportunity enormously.”

However, the study also found that 68% of respondents recognize new concerns about the impact of a greater reliance on intelligent machines and business systems on their network security, access and controls.

“IT decision makers recognize that, while a force for good, these technologies also expose the enterprise to new internal and external risk vectors,” said Lock. “As the pace of adoption increases, there will be no escaping the impact of intelligent systems on the enterprise – regardless of whether or not organizations directly invest in such technologies.”

It appears IT decision makers are struggling to gain an understanding of the full extent of the risks, challenges and threats posed by intelligent business systems. Security concerns (33%), funding constraints (30%) and lack of knowledge (24%) were all identified as areas of worry and noted to be primary obstacles to adoption and use.

What’s more, more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents admitted that their current network security and access management capabilities were already inadequate or needed strengthening to cope with new intelligent machines, while 72% revealed network traffic monitoring and analysis capabilities also required reinforcing.

“People are always worried about security, that’s a given. There are a whole host of risks that people have identified and things they think could come up and bite them, but they don’t know quite what to do about it,” Lock said.

“Automation doesn’t happen on its own, at least not yet,” he continued. “All automation works by some form of policy, i.e. you tell it what happens under certain scenarios and you set rules about that, but the point is the rules you make today you’re probably going to have to change tomorrow.”

These were sentiments echoed by Rob Farmer, senior director of channels, Northern EU & MEA at Ipswitch, who told Infosecurity:

“You have to keep continually changing in cyber business as everything is coming in; with new waves of new technology or new ways of doing things”.

Organizations are recognizing that’s there’s things they don’t know how to deal with, added Lock.

“They know there are risks and things they need to look at, but they know they’ve got to start doing it pretty quickly. It really is important and it’s NOW, it’s not the day after tomorrow”.

Source: Information Security Magazine