Cybersecurity Talent Shortage Forces Companies to Turn to AI

A shortage of human cybersecurity talent is causing companies to turn to artificial intelligence (AI) to fill in the gaps.

An estimated one million cybersecurity jobs are expected to go unfulfilled this year around the world, according to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. The need for qualified cybersecurity employees is in such short supply that consulting firms, security firms and businesses with pressing need are turning to artificial intelligence.

Such is the scarcity that many companies use employees from other departments or recent inexperienced graduates to fill in for jobs in corporate cybersecurity. This leaves companies open to cyberattacks from cybercriminals who can launch attacks backed by thousands of computers in a botnet and more.

As a result, companies are turning to artificial intelligence or AI to plug their cybersecurity needs, according to PwC head of US cybersecurity and privacy practice Sean Joyce. The company itself uses AI capabilities such as predictive analytics to identify “hot spots” where certain dangerous cyberattacks are originating and spreading around the world, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Another firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, uses AI tools to spot critical threats and highlight them for cybersecurity experts in order to defuse the threats. The use of AI, the company says, helps cybersecurity pros combat “alert fatigue”, a term wherein professionals are faced with a constant barrage of security alerts.

IB vice president for strategy and offering management for IBM Security Jim Brennan adds:

The skills shortage in cybersecurity is real. We’re seeing it every day with clients. This added intelligence also allows junior staffers to learn on the job by providing fast access to historical insights and security research of more senior analysts.

IBM’s own Watson for Cybersecurity “works side by side with analysts to boost their accuracy and shorten their reaction time” according to Brennan.

Chicago-based cybersecurity services firm Trustwave Holdings uses AI and machine-learning products to provide protection for small and medium-sized companies. “[H]alf or fewer of their security staff have the specialized skills and training to address more complex security issues,” according to a Trustwave spokesman, pointing to a survey which turned out the opinion from over 60% of the participating companies.

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