Keeping security at the forefront of AI transformation

March 1, 2024


AI transformation

Marc Peiser, Principal Cloud Consultant of Daemon discusses artificial intelligence’s (AI) transformation and why security should be at the forefront.

The pandemic instigated a shift in businesses’ digital transformation strategies, with many moving from early-stage implementation to partial and in the majority, full implementation.

Our recent research, found that digital transformation became much more commonplace last year, compared to just two years earlier in 2021.

In fact, there was a 35% increase in organisations that had fully implemented their strategies in 2023 compared to 2021.

As part of this transformation process, organisations have also been critically evaluating which technologies and approaches they seek to adopt.

The recent acceleration of AI solutions has led to a significant increase in adoption, with 48% of organisations doing so, up 12% from 2021.

With AI being extremely prominent in the media, it’s no surprise that organisations are shifting towards it to stay ahead of their competitors.

There is no doubt that successful digital transformation requires cross business collaboration inclusive of all key stakeholders.

As AI adoption is likely to increase further, it’s imperative security leaders play a key role in keeping security concerns at the forefront of the implementation process.

I believe there are three key areas security leaders need to consider, should they choose to implement AI as part of their broader digital transformation strategy.

Throughout this article, I’ll discuss what they are and how security leaders can lead the way in ensuring organisations avoid these pitfalls.

Securing buy-in across the business

Embarking on an ‘AI transformation’ across an enterprise is no simple feat, and plotting the implementation strategy should not happen in isolation.

Our latest data revealed that 13% of top decision-makers have low confidence in AI and ML technologies because they lack a clear game plan.

A comprehensive and aligned understanding of this is imperative and security leaders must create open lines of communication and collaborate with key stakeholders to guarantee all parties understand the methodology.

In addition to broader stakeholder engagement, cyber security and AI teams should work hand-in-hand to refine the strategy further.

Early involvement and collaboration between both teams ensures security considerations can be embedded into the development lifecycle, and that any AI security is ingrained into the broader cyber security strategy of the organisation.

AI’s impact on different parts of your organisation

Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination.

Some companies may undergo an enterprise-wide transformation across all departments, while others transform specific divisions.

Regardless of scope, implementing technologies like AI requires understanding their potential domino effect on other business areas.

For example, what impact could AI have on the businesses cyber security strategy?

How might an AI chatbot for customer service also transform backend workflows?

The possible implications should be thoroughly mapped out and assessed.

To get a comprehensive view of this, you can use processes like systematic enterprise architecture reviews to reveal the current state of business processes and IT systems to ensure alignment.

Additionally, conducting in-depth threat modelling allows businesses to simulate potential threats to identify security requirements, pinpoint security threats and potential vulnerabilities, quantify threat and vulnerability criticality and prioritise remediation methods.

Putting this into perspective, if one of your primary reasons for implementing AI is to increase productivity and efficiency in a specific department, this can have a knock-on effect on wider organisational efficiency.

This efficiency gain in one department can positively impact other departments that depend on the outputs of the first one.

Embracing shared ownership of security best practice

The economic climate has put significant financial pressure on companies and often, leaders will prioritise investment in other areas of the business over cyber security.

This can result in poor allocation of resources to the team, ineffective practices and ultimately, can leave only IT teams carrying the responsibility of protecting the organisation alone.

For security to remain front of mind during this transformation journey, security leaders should foster a culture of shared cyber security responsibility, which extends right through the business to ensure that it is protected at all ends.

This starts with rigorous and regular training, with real-world scenarios, and case studies reflecting the evolving threat landscape.

This approach ensures that employees are not only aware of the broad spectrum of potential threats but also equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to respond effectively to various security incidents.

Employees who lean into learning outside of their core job requirements and discussions around security empower themselves to spot potential problems early while driving impactful innovations.

The future looks bright for teams embracing security awareness as a collective learning journey.

As digital transformation accelerates, security leaders should play an instrumental role in ensuring security is considered, especially with regard to AI at every step of the transformation journey.

By taking a holistic approach, fostering curiosity and ensuring alignment across the organisation, companies can unlock AI’s vast potential while safeguarding their most valuable asset – their data.

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