AI, ML in cybersecurity can be two-edged: Exclusive Networks CEO

Cybercriminals today are getting more audacious in stealing data and crippling business operations. Much of this has to do with the rapid digitalisation seen across verticals. While companies enjoy what emerging tech has to offer, the attack surface has exponentially widened.

With the piling costs and complexity of maintaining an on-prem IT and security infrastructure, coupled with the adoption of more sustainable business practices, enterprises are increasingly turning to cloud-based solutions.

Realising these changes, cybersecurity firm Exclusive Networks had to make significant adjustments to its portfolio, including the adoption of the latest technologies and strategies to outsmart cybercriminals.

Frontier Enterprise spoke with Jesper Trolle, CEO of Exclusive Networks, to deep dive on how the paradigm shift has affected their business, and how enterprises can harness the power of AI and ML to defend against hackers.

More and more corporate networks are moving away from traditional on-prem networks and into the cloud. How has this trend affected Exclusive Networks’ cybersecurity services and distribution model overall?

Jesper Trolle, Chief Executive Officer, Exclusive Networks. Image courtesy of Exclusive Networks.

This shift has contributed to the acceleration of cybersecurity due to increased awareness and the transformation of cloud technology. Corporate network security remains a big issue, as many cloud configurations are misconfigured, leaving infrastructures potentially vulnerable. While the hyperscalers are responsible for securing these infrastructures, companies are still responsible for making sure there is a right level of security in how data is accessed and by whom.

With data now being accessed from anywhere, authentication is more critical than ever. The cloud has also changed the way technology solutions are consumed, as well as how companies pay for them, which is very different from the physical transactions or perpetual licences of the past. It has given businesses more access to cybersecurity solutions as it enables companies to offer enterprise-grade solutions at a lower price.

Exclusive Networks has responded to this trend of corporate networks moving to the cloud by expanding its cybersecurity services and distribution model. The company now provides a range of cloud-based solutions, including identity management and access control, secure web gateways, and cloud-native threat intelligence and analytics. It also offers integrated cloud security services that provide visibility into cloud usage, detect and stop threats, and secure cloud-based data.

The company’s distribution model has also been updated to include a range of solutions with cloud service models: Software as a service, platform as a service, and infrastructure as a service. This helps organisations find the cloud security services and solutions that best fit their needs.

How have emerging technologies like AI and ML impacted cybercrime? How can they make things better or worse for enterprises seeking to bolster their cybersecurity?

Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are providing both opportunities and challenges for enterprises seeking to bolster their cybersecurity. On one hand, AI can provide enterprises with more sophisticated detection capabilities, allowing them to identify and respond to threats faster than ever before. On the other hand, AI and ML can also be used by cybercriminals to launch more sophisticated attacks, making it difficult for enterprises to keep up.

Enterprises can implement robust authentication and authorisation protocols to leverage on AI and ML to secure their network and mitigate threats. This is through using strong authentication protocols such as multi-factor authentication and advanced authorisation protocols such as role-based access control to restrict and manage access to AI and ML systems. Enterprise systems should also be properly secured against potential attacks from the beginning of the development stage by incorporating security measures such as the encryption of data and secure communication protocols.

What predictions do you foresee in the cybersecurity sector for the next five years? How will technologies like AI and ML affect its evolution?

As we move forward, the majority of organisations will likely move to cloud-based services, which will create a need for more comprehensive cloud security solutions. Network security, as well as proactive security, will become critical aspects as organisations become increasingly reliant on the data stored in cloud networks. Thus organisations will be investing more on these to prevent cyberattacks. 

Therefore, automated security measures will become increasingly commonplace and advanced as cyberthreat detection and prevention become more sophisticated. AI and ML will be used to identify patterns, detect anomalies, and provide automated responses to cyberthreats in real time before they become a problem.

What are Exclusive Networks’ top business and technology challenges amid today’s increasingly sophisticated cybercrime and overall cybersecurity landscape?

Cyberthreats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and the attacks are scaling up. With the industry rapidly expanding, a growing number of cybersecurity specialists is needed. The global talent and skills gap in cybersecurity is an area Exclusive Networks has taken a tangible and concrete step towards by launching Exclusive Academy. The Exclusive Academy will offer practical field experience, as well as theoretical training, culminating in high-level qualifications.

Only 15% of cybersecurity professionals in the world got to their position through cybersecurity training. This creates a huge mismatch between the needs of the industry and the supply of training. With this initiative, we are providing a sustainable solution to one of the biggest cybersecurity challenges in the world and sending a strong message to students and young talent, but also to the entire cybersecurity ecosystem.