Right now, the two biggest priorities facing businesses throughout Ipswich are the growing complexities of blending cybersecurity with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

By now, we’re sure that everyone has experimented with open-source software such as ChatGBT or tested out a range of automation tools that save time on manual processes. But have you ever considered whether your use of AI could be helping or hindering your cybersecurity defences?

This is a topic that we’re constantly looking into, and it is clear that there’s yet to be a definitive answer.

AI tools and software solutions are revolutionising cybersecurity by automating techniques. Automated scans, scheduled data backups, and advanced threat detection tools are now indispensable. These advancements have become so beneficial that it’s hard to imagine life without them.

However, the growing combination of AI and cybersecurity can bring a number of risks.

That’s why we want to explore whether AI is a silver bullet or a double-edged sword.

Let’s look at the pros and cons and discover how you can mitigate your security risks.

The positive side of AI: It can boost your defences

AI can be a game-changer for cybersecurity in several ways:

  • Advanced Threat Detection: AI can analyse vast amounts of data to identify patterns that indicate a cyberattack. This lets you catch threats much faster than traditional methods, potentially before any damage is done. Tools such as Endpoint Detect and Response are ideally suited for visual insights into your real-time defences. We also welcome the use of the MS secure score to see how you compare to your peers.
  • Enhanced Security Automation: Repetitive tasks like user access control and vulnerability scanning can be automated using AI tools. This can free up your IT team to focus on more strategic security planning.
  • Improved Phishing & Malware Protection: AI can seamlessly analyse emails and website behaviour to detect phishing attempts and identify new malware strains before they spread. We recommend using email defender systems such as Barracuda to identify any potential issues before they become a problem.
  • Predictive Security: Machine learning is valuable because it can be used to predict future attacks by analysing past attack patterns. Predictive data analysis is a crucial part of any AI usage, as it will allow businesses in Ipswich to take pre-emptive measures to protect themselves.

The Dark Side of AI: potential risks that you need to be aware of

While AI offers significant advantages, there are also potential drawbacks that you should consider.

  • Vulnerability to Hacking: AI systems themselves can be vulnerable to hacking. If an attacker can manipulate the data used to train the AI, they could trick it into compromising your security. That’s why you should continue to implement manual checks to make sure that your AI settings are working as you intended them to. You also need to continually review your systems to ensure that no vulnerabilities are emerging.
  • Bias in AI Models: AI models are only as good as the data they’re trained on. If the data is biased, the AI model will be biased too. This could lead to the AI system overlooking certain types of threats. You need to be confident that if you’re using AI as part of your cybersecurity strategies, you will not be affected by issues related to unconscious bias.
  • Checking for vulnerabilities: If your business is making the most of a growing range of AI tools throughout different departments, you need to make sure that everything is set up and working correctly. It can be tempting to download a third-party software plugin to manage your eCommerce sales or to deal with your customer service enquiries. Still, you need to bring in checks to make sure that no conflicts or vulnerabilities have emerged.
  • Being aware of open-source software: A final consideration is to be mindful of the type of AI you are using. As we mentioned, ChatGBT is open-source software. This means that anything you input (even prompts) is placed into the public domain. We always advise caution when using generative AI for any confidential information because you could be putting yourself at risk. You need to educate your employees about AI usage and establish policies and procedures to protect yourself from harm.

Is it possible to mitigate cybersecurity risks and use AI safely?

We want businesses across Ipswich to leverage the benefits of AI in cybersecurity while also minimising the potential risks. There are considerable advantages to using AI within your business, and technology will continue to improve and develop.

The challenge right now for IT teams and in-house personnel is to know how to use AI safely and responsibly.

Our advice is to make sure that you

  • Choose reputable vendors: If you’re bringing in automated software solutions as part of your security tools, you need to make sure that they are reputable. As part of our IT support services, we provide recommendations on vendors that we use and trust. Our knowledge is more than just the installations. It’s about knowing when patch updates are due and having someone to rely on who can make sure that you are not using legacy features that could put you at risk.
  • Focus on transparency: To avoid the issues relating to unconscious bias, we recommend that you search for solutions that offer some level of explainability to how AI reaches its decisions. By understanding how the AI works, you can feel confident that it’s protecting you in the way that you need.
  • Maintain human oversight: AI should never replace human expertise. It’s crucial for threat analysis, incident response, and overall security strategy. While AI can support your IT team, it should never be a substitute. The aim of machine learning is to free up time from more mundane tasks so you can think more strategically about what you are trying to achieve.

Microsoft Copilot is a trusted AI resource

If you are searching for a reputable AI tool, then we recommend Microsoft Copilot. Built and maintained by the Microsoft team of engineers, it’s safe to use, and because it’s not an open-source software, you can pair it with your apps such as MS Word, MS Excel and Outlook.

But most importantly, commercial data protection is included for eligible Microsoft Entra ID users. This means that any information you upload into the Copilot tool will be protected, keeping you safe from harm.

Right now, there is a free version of Copilot available, which has limited options. However, most businesses would benefit from the Copilot for Microsoft 365 subscription.

If you want to add this Copilot licence to your subscription, please let us know and we can set this up for you.

We’re embracing AI, but we also acknowledge its limitations

AI is a powerful tool that can significantly enhance your cybersecurity position. However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to mitigate them.

By working with a trusted IT security partner in Ipswich, you can harness the power of AI to keep your business safe in the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape.

Our expertise is here to keep you safe from harm. We’ll provide recommendations for safe and secure software solutions and check that it’s working as it should. We can also draft specific AI guidelines as part of your wider IT policies and provide your team with intensive training and education so everyone is aware of how to use AI and automation safely.

To find out how we can help you maximise your AI while minimising your risks, please book a call with one of our cybersecurity experts.

01473355199

CYBER SECURITY

Karl Wilkinson

Technical Director

About The Author

As Technical Director, Karl is our most senior engineer and responsible for delivering solutions and providing support to our 2nd and 3rd line engineers ensuring that they can resolve any technical issues reported by our clients.

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