May 20th, 2024

The Intersection of AI And Cybersecurity

The Technology Council of West Michigan recently met to explore the key trends and developments in this space, particularly focusing on the impact of generative AI and the emergence of quantum computing.

Technology Technology Council of West Michigan

Written by Jen Wangler, VP of Technology

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of various industries today, including cybersecurity. AI's ability to analyze vast amounts of data quickly and identify patterns makes it invaluable for enhancing security measures. At the intersection of cybersecurity and AI, there are exciting opportunities and challenges that will continue to evolve over the next five years.

AI in Cybersecurity

AI technologies offer significant improvements in threat detection and response capabilities in cybersecurity. By using machine learning models, AI can monitor network traffic, identify potential threats, and detect anomalies in real time. This proactive approach enables organizations to respond quickly to security incidents.

Despite its potential, AI faces limitations in identifying and mitigating cyber threats. For instance, AI models can inherit biases that may have originated from training data, leading to skewed or unfair outcomes. This makes it easier for cybercriminals to bypass AI-based defenses through adversarial attacks. Additionally, AI may generate false alarms, causing unnecessary concern and a drain on resources. These challenges can be addressed by enforcing continuous model updates and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Quantum Computing and Q-Day

Quantum computing poses both opportunities and risks for cybersecurity. While it promises unprecedented processing power and can enhance cybersecurity, it also can threaten current encryption methods. As "Q-Day" approaches, the day when quantum computers can break current cryptographic algorithms, organizations need to adopt quantum-resistant encryption methods to avoid any sort of security breach.

Cybersecurity Challenges with AI Adoption

Investing in talent resources for cybersecurity is essential for staying ahead of evolving threats. In 2022, The Right Place, along with several community partners, launched a 10-Year Tech Strategy to address the scarcity of tech talent. Scott Swann, CEO of Rank One Computing, stated that organizations can establish partnerships with universities and other training programs to nurture skilled professionals. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month, ROC announced the opening of its new computer vision lab in Grand Rapids. This lab, created in partnership with Grand Valley State University, will advance emerging technology and support the next generation of computer visionaries.

“We are excited to provide GVSU students and faculty with access to our world-class biometric technologies, which run the gamut from face recognition to highly advanced computer vision capabilities, such as AI-powered video analytics, object detection, and threat detection," said Swann.

Integrating AI into cybersecurity strategies can be expensive, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. In order to implement proper cybersecurity strategies effectively, companies need to purchase a software solution and invest in skilled personnel. Limited budgets may hinder AI adoption, leaving these organizations more susceptible to cyber threats.

Data Adoption and Responsible AI

Companies must create frameworks ensuring data protection to adopt AI tools responsibly. This includes implementing encryption, access controls, and secure data handling practices, in addition to staying aware of regulatory requirements like GDPR, PSD2, CMMC, and NIST that impact cybersecurity approaches, especially when implementing AI solutions. Organizations must navigate these regulations while protecting user privacy and data.

Existing regulations and laws may not fully address the challenges posed by AI in cybersecurity, as this phenomenon is evolving day by day. Continuous updates and new legislation may be needed to accommodate emerging threats and technologies.

Governments and regulatory bodies also play a crucial role in overseeing AI cybersecurity practices. They set the standards, provide guidance, and enforce compliance to ensure a safe and secure digital landscape. During this “era of AI-driven productivity, securing corporate data before deploying tools like Microsoft Copilot is not just a precaution—it's a necessity. With AI's ability to access any file that a licensed user can, the old strategy of 'security by obscurity' falls short. Before integrating AI into your business operations, it's imperative to reassess and fortify your data governance policies. Ensure that only the necessary data is accessible to users (and thereby to AI), and that sensitive information is adequately protected.

“This proactive approach to cybersecurity safeguards your organization's most valuable assets, enabling you to leverage AI's potential with confidence and integrity," said Chad Paalman, CEO and Co-founder of NuWave Technology Partners. “Deploying these tactics will ensure that AI is used as a safeguard, not a liability.”

In summary, the intersection of AI and cybersecurity presents both opportunities and challenges. As AI and quantum computing continue to evolve, organizations must stay informed and proactive in their approach to security, talent development, data protection, and regulatory compliance. Collaboration across industries and sectors will be key to navigating the complexities of this rapidly changing landscape.

Contact Jen Wangler

Jen wangler 1

Jennifer Wangler

Vice President, Technology | Director, Technology Council of West Michigan

Jennifer provides retention and expansion assistance to Right Place clients in Kent County and site location assistance to national and international IT and tech companies. She also serves as the Director for the Technology Council of West Michigan.

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