Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

AI in Security Carries as Many Questions as Answers

Companies are adopting machine intelligence even though there are still issues and questions regarding its performance, a new report on AI use in cybersecurity shows.

Nearly three-quarters of all organizations have implemented security projects that have some level of intelligence built in. And the more security alerts a company sees in a day, the more likely it is to look to machine intelligence in order to deal with the flood.

Those are just two of the conclusions reached in a new white paper, "The State of AI in Cybersecurity: The Benefits, Limitations and Evolving Questions," published today by Osterman Research. The report, based on more than 400 surveys of organizations with more than 1,000 employees, asked questions about the use of AI and the results of that use.

"AI is certainly, thanks to very strong marketing, winning the hearts and minds, not of the practitioners but of the broader executive suite," says Ramon Peypoch, chief product officer of ProtectWise, which sponsored the Osterman research. "They're being taken with the idea of allowing teams to do more and be more productive."

While companies are definitely employing machine intelligence in security, the perception of its value is not universally positive. According to the report, 60% of organizations employing AI think that AI makes investigations of alerts faster. The same proportion report that AI improves the efficiency of their security staff.

The more an organization employs machine intelligence, the more positive its perception of the technique's effectiveness. In companies that have deployed machine intelligence in 10% or less of their security applications, 49% see it speeding their research of alerts. In those companies employing machine intelligence in more than 10% of their security, that number rises to 69%.

Still, machine intelligence isn't perceived as perfect. Some 60% of responding organizations say that it doesn't deal with zero-day or advanced threats, and roughly half complain that it generates too many false positives. These issues are due at least partially, say some experts, to the difficulty in properly training machine learning engines.

"You have very few machine learning professionals that can handle and clarify and gain meeting from the data," says Heather Lawrence, a researcher at the Nebraska Applied Research Institute. She points out that machine learning professionals are rarely experienced in cybersecurity, while cybersecurity experts tend to have no real data science experience. The disconnect slows improvement and wide, effective deployment. "You still need somebody who can understand the data going in and the data going out. It hasn't yet been automated to a point where you can remove the professional to actually get meaning from the data," Lawrence explains.

Peypoch looks at data in the report and sees future progress that is almost inevitable. "AI is one tool for driving efficiencies. It can make your limited staff more effective, but it's not going to replace human staff anytime soon," he says. "AI is an approach, a journey for most organizations deploying it, and I think we're at an early point of deployment, of maturity and sophistication."

Searching for a ready metaphor for the current state of adoption, Peypoch turns to sports. "I don't think we're even in the first inning; the teams are still on the field warming up prior to the game starting."

Related content:

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Florida Town Pays $600K to Ransomware Operators
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/20/2019
Pledges to Not Pay Ransomware Hit Reality
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  6/21/2019
AWS CISO Talks Risk Reduction, Development, Recruitment
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/25/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12888
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-26
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2019-12887. Reason: This candidate is a reservation duplicate of CVE-2019-12887. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2019-12887 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to preve...
CVE-2019-12280
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-25
PC-Doctor Toolbox before 7.3 has an Uncontrolled Search Path Element.
CVE-2019-3961
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-25
Nessus versions 8.4.0 and earlier were found to contain a reflected XSS vulnerability due to improper validation of user-supplied input. An unauthenticated, remote attacker could potentially exploit this vulnerability via a specially crafted request to execute arbitrary script code in a users browse...
CVE-2019-9836
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-25
Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) on Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Platform Security Processor (PSP; aka AMD Secure Processor or AMD-SP) 0.17 build 11 and earlier has an insecure cryptographic implementation.
CVE-2019-6328
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-25
HP Support Assistant 8.7.50 and earlier allows a user to gain system privilege and allows unauthorized modification of directories or files. Note: A different vulnerability than CVE-2019-6329.