In a recent survey, we asked security managers and architects across multiple industries to rank trends that they believed would be most impactful this year. (For more on this survey, including the methodology, see our white paper.) These four trends led the way: Artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML); the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); the increasing adoption of DevSecOps and the process of integrating security into the software development lifecycle before an app reaches the traditional testing stage; and the growing movement to use software as a service (SaaS) to meet security needs.
Here we’ll examine survey respondents’ plans in each of these four areas. We’ll also combine our research with that of other industry leaders to provide recommendations.
Six out of 10 respondents called AI a top trend in 2019, with plans focusing about equally on security analytics; security incident and event management; and endpoint protection. Over 50% of those citing AI as a top trend planned to purchase more of this technology in 2019, with implementation split between internal development and buying from a vendor.
AI/ML is emerging as a useful tool as networks and threats grow increasingly complex. Sophisticated attackers can now exploit new vulnerabilities in a matter of minutes. Moreover, enterprises report a shortage of staff skilled in the myriad tools used to respond to as many as 10,000 alerts a day. With studies indicating that analysts can only investigate five to 10 issues per day, AI is an absolute necessity.
All this has resulted in a tendency to view AI as a magic bullet. While pragmatic AI applications such as anomalous user-behavior monitoring and spam/phishing detection are becoming commonplace, keep in mind that the arms race never ends — we know from experience that the bad guys will simply adapt their attacks. While it’s worthwhile, even necessary, to use AI to crunch through massive data sets, merely investing in the technology won’t be enough in the long run.
To get the most from AI, security managers must:
- Navigate vendor claims about whether and how AI improves security.
- Integrate newer AI tools with existing security databases and analytic platforms.
- Arm staff with the skills to use AI (or partner with firms that have such skills).
- Recognize and minimize the threat that hackers will use AI to strengthen attacks or to subvert AI security systems.
The European Union’s (EU) GDPR covers more than 500 million citizens in 28 countries. Devising and executing a compliance plan is a significant challenge, as shown by the fact that 72% of respondents’ organizations are affected by GDPR, and 40% listed it as a top trend for 2019.