Security leaders see AI as superior at identifying threats

Yet widespread adoption of LLMs is likely not on the horizon.

  • Sunday, 3rd December 2023 Posted 3 months ago in by Phil Alsop

Arctic Wolf has published findings from an artificial intelligence (AI) survey conducted by CyberRisk Alliance of more than 800 senior IT and cybersecurity decision-makers at enterprise organisations across the United States and United Kingdom. After a year of significant hype around the future role of AI, not only within the technology community, but throughout society, the survey data sheds light on executive attitudes towards the current use of AI within cybersecurity, and the role AI will play going forward.

Key findings from the survey include:

Despite Industry Hype, Investment in AI Powered Cybersecurity Solutions is Still in Its Infancy

Less than a quarter (22%) of organisations have the majority of their cybersecurity budget dedicated to AI-powered solutions.

Nearly two-thirds of organisations (64%) are highly-likely to add an AI-centric technology or solution to improve their cybersecurity readiness within the next year.

Threat Detection and Automation are Seen as Top Use Cases for AI

61% of respondents believe AI will outperform humans when it comes to identifying threats

Almost half (46%) of respondents believe AI’s primary benefit will be the automation of response actions or repetitive task such as alert triage.

Cybersecurity Leaders See Humans as an Essential Component in Operationalising the Efficiency Gains Promised by AI

Nearly 40% of respondents feel their teams lack the technical staff and skills required to manage AI solutions.

Only a slight majority of respondents (52%) believe that cybersecurity outcomes enabled by AI tools will be more cost-efficient than that of humans.

Executives are Sceptical of the Near-Term Benefits of Large Language Models (LLMs) in Cybersecurity

Just 13% of respondents view leveraging large language models to add context to existing data as a primary benefit of AI in their cybersecurity tools.

The majority of executives surveyed believe human analysts outperform LLM and other AI technologies when it comes to explaining context of threats.

“This survey reveals that the role artificial intelligence will play in enhancing threat detection and response is undeniable, yet it is crucial to recognise that technology alone cannot protect businesses against modern threats,” said Dan Schiappa, chief product officer, Arctic Wolf. “As threat actors become more advanced, and leverage AI tools themselves, humans will have an essential role investigating novel attacks, explaining their context within their business, and most importantly, leveraging their knowledge and expertise to train the very AI and machine learning models that will become deeply embedded within next-generation cybersecurity solutions.”

“Organisations of all sizes stand to gain a great deal from integrating AI into security operations, but unlike other industries that may find their labour displaced or even replaced by automation and AI, the skilled analysts that run security operations centres are likely to find their roles enhanced and elevated by AI, not degraded or dismissed as some might expect,” said Daniel Thomas, a CyberRisk Alliance researcher. “We'll see near-term growing pains that come with the adoption any new technology, but AI in the long term — when augmented with human expertise — will deliver faster and superior security outcomes in almost all circumstances.”