Artificial Intelligence Revenue Forecasted at $36.8 billion USD

A picture speaks more than a thousand words. Artificial intelligence (AI) is growing exponentially as a new industry and has a critical role to play in cybersecurity innovation.

Credit: Artificial Intelligence for Enterprise

Artificial intelligence refers to an area of computer science that emphasises the creation of intelligent machines that learn and adapt through experience. AI technologies use machine learning (ML) to emulate human cognition and learn through experience, rather than cause and effect.

Recent advancements in deep learning and machine learning now mean that machines are able to teach themselves rather than relying on humans. This rise of AI and ML can be attributed to advancements in computing power and also the advent of big data and cloud computing. Growth in these areas means that this technology is beginning to become available to enterprises around the world, and one area it is being put to great use is cybersecurity.

The implementation of AI into cybersecurity systems serves as a real turning point. These systems come with a number of substantial benefits that are helping prepare cybersecurity professionals for taking on cyber-attacks and safeguarding their enterprise.

AI is already being used by organisations to bolster cybersecurity as it offers greater protection against sophisticated hackers. AI helps by automating complex processes for detecting attacks and reacting to breaches. These applications are becoming more and more sophisticated as AI is deployed for security and uses ML to spot greater and more complex patterns in the technology hackers are using in their attacks.

Data deception technology products used in cybersecurity can automatically detect, analyse, and defend against advanced attacks by proactively detecting and tricking attackers. They do this according to a standardized procedure or playbook. Rather than the variability (and ultimately inaccuracy) that comes with a human touch, AI systems don’t make mistakes in performing their function. As such, each threat is responded to in the most effective and proper way.

Although cybersecurity technology can eliminate human error from certain tasks, it still works best when combined with very smart security personnel. Instead of bringing fears that AI will replace human workers in cybersecurity, as well as many other industries, in the sphere of security ML is being used within several different areas to compliment, rather than replace, traditional measures. In practice, this means that AI is there to do the number crunching, and free up cybersecurity analysts for other tasks.

The benefit of ML to AI cybersecurity systems also means that this adaptive technology continues to change and become smarter over time, providing a competitive edge to defenders that have primarily been absent from most cybersecurity technologies to date.
Unfortunately, there are still some vulnerabilities that AI can open up, particularly when it depends on interfaces within and across organisations that inadvertently create opportunities for access by hackers.

As the defenders in cybersecurity begin to deploy AI, it comes as little surprise that the attackers are also beginning to deploy AI, enabling it to have the ability to make decisions that benefit attackers. This means that they will gradually develop automated hacks that are able to study and learn about the systems they target and identify vulnerabilities.
As the technology improves, it’s possible that programmes will emerge with the ability to fully understand when they are under attack and take measures to protect themselves. For now, AI and ML look to have a bright future in cybersecurity as enterprises begin to invest heavily in adding smart security measures to their overall defence.

A Guide to Cloud Computing for Beginners

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing has revolutionised the way in which we think about IT infrastructure. It provides businesses with the delivery of computing services including, servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and more, over the internet, or ‘the cloud’.

This eliminates the need for the costly ownership and upkeep of computer hardware, with cloud providers instead offering the services on-demand. This is beneficial for many companies, but especially smaller start-ups as it provides exactly the right type and size of computing resources required for the job with no waste, you just pay for what you use.

Although cloud computing services are barely a decade old, the technology has been leapt upon so rapidly that its use has already started to become ubiquitous in our daily lives. If you use email, watch films and TV shows online, stream music, play games, or just store pictures and other documents, it is almost certain that cloud computing is making it all possible.

Cloud computing has caused a real paradigm shift in the way in which businesses think about IT resources. Look at the benefits of cloud computing however, and it becomes clear why so many are turning to it as a preferred IT solution.

The benefits of cloud computing:

  1. Cost

Cloud computing eliminates the cost associated with setting up and running on-site data centres including the racks of servers, the round-the-clock energy demands, and the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It also benefits from massive economies of scale, with many thousands of users, cloud providers can offer their services at lower prices.

  1. Speed

Cloud computing services are most commonly provided as on demand services. This means that vast amounts of computing power can be provisioned in minutes, giving businesses the flexibility to up weight and down weight resources as required and stop guessing capacity.

  1. Performance

Cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure data centres, and are regularly upgraded to the latest and most efficient computing hardware. This not only means that the upkeep of these services is done more efficiently than at a single privately owned data centre, but the worldwide network also allows for fast deployment of applications around the world with reduced network latency.

  1. Reliability

Backing up data is important and cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity far easier and cost effective than ever before.

How does C5 use cloud computing?

Cloud computing is taking the power we have come to know from our personal and upscaled it to create a global network of computing infrastructure to be used for everyone’s benefit. Thanks to the economies of scale involved, it now requires less capital and less infrastructure to build organisations, allowing start-ups to grow, scale and innovate globally on an unprecedented scale.

C5 have recognised the benefits of the cloud to new businesses and have begun running accelerators in Bahrain and Washington D.C. through C5 Accelerate. The eight-week structured program of mentorship is designed to cover all aspects of scaling up, with a focus on scaling using the cloud.

The Cloud Accelerator program in Bahrain is a first for the Middle East and Africa and aims to drive growth in the local and regional business ecosystem by enabling the rapid adoption of cloud technology. The program has already started to develop and fund businesses from across the region with a focus on technologies that align with the economic priorities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including companies in manufacturing, financial services and technology sector development.

At the PeaceTech Accelerator based at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington D.C. and powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), C5 has launched the first major international peacetech program powered by cloud innovation and dedicated to scaling start-ups around the world. C5 is investing in peacetech because it represents the purposeful application of the innovation that cloud computing enables for good and not evil.

Following the programs, cohort companies enter a peer network for ongoing support and guidance.

These collaborations build on the existing relationship between C5 and AWS, in which AWS supports C5 accelerators with expertise and support to help train program participants on cloud computing services. With the AWS Cloud, PeaceTech accelerator and Cloud Accelerator participants can take advantage of the power of cloud technology to help launch and grow a business rapidly, securely, and cost effectively.

How the Internet Of Things is affecting cybersecurity

The world of IoT devices offers consumers and businesses a wealth of benefits, but by sharing more data than ever before, are we leaving ourselves open to more cybersecurity risks than ever?

Background

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the name given to the increasingly large number of internet connected devices available to both consumers and businesses. From Amazon’s popular home assistant, the Amazon Echo, to fridges, thermostats and even cars, the number of internet connected devices available continues to grow and is thought to reach 20 billion by 2020.

The IoT has come with many benefits with formally everyday objects now able to become greater than the sum of their parts by connecting to surrounding objects, and sharing an extensive amount of data about our lives in the process.

Traditionally we may have only thought of interconnected devices in terms of computers, and later smartphones and tablets. The world of IoT is one in which just about anything can be connected and communicate in a meaningful way by sharing data to produce usable intelligence. With the IoT, the physical world is becoming one big information system, with the goal of simplifying processes and empowering individuals and businesses.

However, the more personal information and business data that exists in the cloud to make the IoT work, the more it can be exploited through the devices we are coming to increasingly rely upon. A weak link in the chain could provide hackers with nearly limitless entry points that could lead them to valuable data.

The problem

While IoT devices are undoubtedly improving our lives and businesses, they pose an increasing security threat. It’s a security threat that has already been exploited in the 2016 Mirai botnet attack that took advantage of unsecured IoT devices such as security cameras and wireless routers to unleash sweeping attacks on key internet services around the world in a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

This attack and others have demonstrated that hackers can now craft attacks with unprecedented sophistication and correlate information not just from public networks, but from different private sources including our smart fridges, thermostats and cars.

Part of the issue that has left the IoT open to such vulnerabilities is the rapid pace that it has progressed with a seemingly constant stream of products coming to market from established brands and start-ups alike. In this quickly evolving world, every device made that connects to the internet is exponentially expanding the points of attack for hackers. A study by Hewlett Packard Enterprise showed that up to 70 percent of IoT devices contain serious vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity issues with the IoT is becoming a hot topic and consumers and businesses are becoming more aware of the potential risks these devices pose. A survey by digital security company Gemalto found that 90 percent of consumers lack confidence in the security of their IoT devices and only 14 percent believe that they are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the security of these devices. As for businesses 75 percent reported that encryption is their primary method of securing IoT assets with many also realising that they need support in understanding IoT technology and are turning to partners to help.

The solution

As more people adopt IoT as a part of everyday life at home and in the workplace, regulations are needed to ensure our safety and security. Industry and government are catching up to the concerns of consumers and businesses with a raft of recently passed legislation and guidelines to secure the future of the IoT.

The most recent legislation comes from the UK government, putting in place new measures for manufacturers to boost cyber security in millions of internet connected devices following a rise in cybersecurity breaches. Manufacturers of IoT devices will now be expected to build-in tough new security measures that last the lifetime of the product.

This comes hot on the heels of the U.S. government’s Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017 created to establish guidelines for securing devices procured by the U.S. government.

Similarly, companies are beginning to adopt and develop guidelines to ensure the secure development and deployment of IoT devices. Central to these standards are identity-focused security solutions, which can help IoT security by managing the relationships between these devices, the entities controlling them, and the data being sent and received.

One resource to help create guidelines and drive requirements for businesses to follow is the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), a repository of information on web applications security, which lays out cybersecurity suggestions in its IoT Attack Surface Areas Project.

Summary

With capable hackers everywhere, and their focus growing on the IoT due to the increasing flow of data around it, securing our interconnected devices and educating users to the risks has never been more important.

The cybersecurity network is adjusting to the demands of the Internet of Things with a better regulated industry and government legislation helping to minimise the threat from hackers. With some relatively simple cyber hygiene practices that stretch from the IT department to employees, organisations can stay connected and still be safe from cyber-attacks. However, we’re still likely to see bigger and more invasive attacks in the short term while we all get to grips with the risks as well as the benefits of our new interconnected world.