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AI and Automation Seen as Silver Bullet in Overcoming Cybersecurity Skill Gap, Survey Finds

By Luana Pascu on Apr 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

There’s been a lot of focus lately on the best ways to safeguard corporate networks and fend off targeted attacks, and on total cost of ownership. But CISOs worldwide are struggling with an even worse problem that greatly affects their companies long-term: a widening cybersecurity talent shortage.

According to a survey from the Ponemon Institute in partnership with DomainTools, 73 percent of IT security teams are short-handed. CISOs, however, feel they may have found the solution. As some trust machine learning to be the silver bullet against all cybersecurity challenges, and some have promoted it as such, security professionals across industries are now betting heavily on automation and artificial intelligence to overcome the knowledge gap and fill in IT security jobs.

Cybersecurity specialists warn that, although they have proven effective, artificial intelligence and automation can’t replace jobs, which was a concern voiced by 35 percent of respondents. Not all security professionals feel their jobs are threatened by AI and automation. In fact, 40 percent say the need for more tech talent with advanced skills will lead to even more jobs in this sector.

 By saving the time and resources on labor-intensive tasks such as malware analysis, automation is to become the main driver to better-performing, more efficient security, respondents said, but not all problems will be solved. Half of respondents have already automated this type of tasks, while 56 percent plan on moving to automation in the next three years.

“Within just one year, the perspective around adoption of automated technologies has notably shifted among security professionals,” said Dr Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute.

“Contrary to the popular belief that the rise of automation will threaten the job market, organizations now feel these technologies will help ease the current strain on resources, and offer the potential to promote job security for highly skilled staff, while strengthening cyber security defenses.”

The report is based on feedback from 1,400 IT executives and security professionals in the US, the UK and APAC. Geography plays an important role in how automation is perceived and how it will be implemented across organizations. As they struggle with a wider talent gap, professionals from the US (65%) and the UK (59%), for example, were more likely to resort to artificial intelligence as a tool to help their teams improve their work by allowing them to focus on more important tasks, while the APAC region is more skeptical of the technology’s capabilities and efficiency in security workloads.

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Author: Luana Pascu

From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.