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Operational Security

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Curtis Franklin
Curtis Franklin
Curt Franklin

Gartner Analysts See AI Augmenting Security

Gartner analysts don't think AI will replace humans in security; instead it will be a critical piece of a better security infrastructure.

ORLANDO -- Gartner Symposium ITXpo -- For many years, the honor of first keynote at Gartner Symposium ITXpo has gone to Peter Sondergaard, VP of research at the consulting giant. On Monday morning, he stood on stage and introduced the concepts that will be driving conversations here for the next four days -- and away from Orlando, for at least the next year.

Sondergaard touched on a number of topics during his address, and my colleague Scott Ferguson has a roundup of the cloud side of the speech in an article on Enterprise Cloud News. I want to focus on one part of his speech -- the part dealing with security and professional skills.

Let's start with some bad news: You probably don't have as many skilled security professionals as you'd like to have. Experienced security pros are in short supply across the IT industry. Now we'll continue with some news that's even worse: The odds seem pretty good that you'll never catch up with your security skills shortage. The rate of growth and change in the security industry are such that the supply is unlikely to ever catch up to demand.

According to Sondergaard, it's not all bad news, though. In his opinion, enterprise IT shops are going to be saved -- by artificial intelligence.

Before you roll your eyes too hard, take a moment to consider what Sondergaard means when he talks about AI in this context. While he admits that AI will almost certainly take some jobs from humans, Sondergaard says that he believes AI will be a net job creator. And part of that job creation function will be the extent to which AI augmenting human capabilities allows humans to do more for more organizations.

There are a lot of people working on AI-augmented security and some who believe that AI will become a requirement as a front-line technology just to keep up with the increasingly powerful and sophisticated threats from hackers. The question, really, is whether AI will become the basis of security, or a tool to help human analysts in the fight for more secure systems.

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In the view of Gartner analysts, AI is most effective when it's used to augment human intelligence, not replace human effort. Whether that augmentation takes the form of rapidly sorting through vast volumes of data that's only mildly interesting, making correlations that involve more variables than humans could consider in real time, suggesting courses of actions to human engineers when presenting threat data or a combination of all three, using AI as a tool is the course of action that makes the most sense to Gartner.

The skills shortage (and AI's role in alleviating the pain) is far from the only thing that Gartner analysts have to say about security. There's more to come from Gartner Symposium ITXpo. In the meantime, what do you think about AI and security? Should we turn our defenses over to artificial intelligence or is AI best seen as a tool to help make human security specialists better? The comment section awaits -- let us know!

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— Curtis Franklin is the editor of SecurityNow.com. Follow him on Twitter @kg4gwa.

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