Cybersecurity is increasingly important for businesses. Organisations of all sizes and across all sectors need to allocate budget and resources to bolstering their cybersecurity, with threats taking more forms than ever.

One area that’s growing rapidly is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity. Consultancy recently highlighted research that found nearly three-quarters of firms are testing AI in cybersecurity with a view to introducing the technology in the near future.

Rates of cyber crime in the UK have been rapidly increasing as more and more organisations tap into the benefits of digitalising their businesses. The news provider noted that rates of cyber crime climbed by 140 per cent in 2018 in the UK alone.

The challenge for businesses is keeping up with the criminals and the technology. In fact, the research from Capgemini found that over half (56 per cent) of cybersecurity analysts find the task of predicting threats and taking steps to neutralise them “overwhelming”.

However, the organisation also noted that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for cybersecurity professionals who are finding it challenging to keep up with the various threats their business faces.

AI is the solution that many firms are now exploring, as they’ve realised that they can automate some of their cybersecurity processes. In doing so, they’ll free up time for their analysts to tackle threats more quickly and decisively.

The news provider noted that many firms dipping their toes into the use of AI in cybersecurity are doing so in terms of threat detection. When it comes to responding to security breaches, the majority still favour a human taking control.

Aside from relieving some of the pressure from cybersecurity analysts, what are the other benefits of introducing AI capabilities into your cybersecurity protocols? According to the Capgemini research, cost savings is one of the main ones.

The organisation found that 64 per cent of the businesses that have introduced AI as part of their cybersecurity provision have seen the cost of detecting threats fall. In some cases, this has been by more than 15 per cent.

And it appears that the organisations that have started to use AI in their cybersecurity departments are increasingly reliant on it, with 72 per cent of the businesses surveyed in Britain stating that they wouldn’t be able to respond to threats without AI.

Cybersecurity business lead at Capgemini Group Geert van der Linden commented: “Organisations are facing an unparalleled volume and complexity of cyber threats and have woken up to the importance of AI as the first line of defence.”

Darren Death, vice president of information security – chief information security officer for ASRC Federal, recently wrote an article for Forbes explaining the benefits of automation in cybersecurity.

He also noted that cybersecurity teams are increasingly stretched by the volume and complexity of threats they have to deal with. “Automating mundane and repeatable tasks that are people-driven allows businesses and individuals to concentrate on more productive problem-solving activities,” he asserted.

Mr Death added that it’s likely that many organisations are already using products that automate some elements of their cybersecurity, as there are many automation tools already available and in widespread use.

He also stressed that automation within cybersecurity isn’t a tech buzzword or fad that’s going to disappear in a few years. It’s a concept that’s here to stay, and one that’s only going to grow in importance given the benefits it can bring.

Automating the mundane and repeatable tasks will allow cybersecurity professionals to focus on projects that require a human touch, Mr Death explained. These include remediation activities, where you identify potential gaps in your automation and find solutions to help fill the gaps and improve the process, as well as automation development and engineering.

These kinds of systems will need constant maintenance and will need to evolve as technology and threats do, so cybersecurity professionals will have an important role to play in ensuring that automation still provides benefits.

Another activity that analysts can focus more time on once they have automated certain processes is the design and development of cybersecurity strategies, he added.

Ensuring that organisations have development capabilities within their cybersecurity teams will become even more important as the field develops, Mr Death added.

He concluded: “As the complexity of cybersecurity increases and evolves, the need for security automation tools and techniques will continue to expand, becoming an integral part of an organisation’s cybersecurity roadmap.”

As businesses invest more in cybersecurity, they’ll also need to find ways of demonstrating the return on investment (ROI) that their efforts bring. A recent article for IT Pro Portal explained some of the ways in which companies can demonstrate the ROI of their cybersecurity investments.

One area of ROI that is often overlooked, according to the news provider, is the data that’s generated by cybersecurity tools. Over time, they will build up a vast amount of data about the threats facing a business and how they’re dealt with.

This data can be used to provide data-driven insights that can be used to improve cybersecurity across a business.

But analysing this data to derive meaningful insights can be a challenge. This, again, can be where AI and automation plays an important role. With certain tasks being carried out by AI, cybersecurity analysts will have the time to analyse this data and identify threats.

As a business this means you’re making best use of your experts’ time, as well as improving the cybersecurity at your organisation. The news provider also suggested that where you don’t have this expertise in house, you could benefit from working with a cybersecurity company in London to help develop your strategy and reduce risk.

Ultimately, the publication is advising taking a data-centric approach to your business cybersecurity activities, as this will “enable you to rethink priorities, and better understand what delivers protection and ROI”.

AI, automation and machine learning are all technologies that can assist with threat detection processes and bolster an organisation’s cybersecurity. However, while this technology has a clear place in the field of cybersecurity, it needs to be combined with expert knowledge from cybersecurity analysts who are able to innovate and tackle the threats each business faces.