Harriet Robbins, product manager at Giacom, explains why cybersecurity is increasingly becoming a battle of AI versus AI.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is on everyone’s minds. In an age where ChatGPT is one of the world’s fastest-growing programs, and AI is part of our everyday life, companies are investing millions – and in some cases, billions – in new software and updates.

Nowhere is AI more important than in the cybersecurity landscape. AI is now being used to both protect businesses and users from cyberattacks, and unfortunately, to carry out attacks. It is, increasingly, an AI vs AI battle.

AI presents both huge opportunities and challenges for the cybersecurity landscape. A report released by the National Cyber Security Centre in January this year, titled ‘the near-term impact of AI on the cyber threat’, summarised that AI will “almost certainly increase the volume and heighten the impact of cyberattacks” in the coming years.

It said AI would evolve and enhance existing techniques used by hackers, and warned that the impact of a successful cyberattack could be increased due to AI extracting data faster and more effectively from targets.

All of this makes for grim reading, but it’s not all gloom. With every challenge comes an opportunity, and AI has enormous capabilities to protect users from cyberattacks.

During the Bletchley AI Safety Summit in November 2023, the role of AI in improving the rapid detection of cyberattacks was emphasised, as well as effectively responding to malicious emails and phishing attempts.

As with all technology, it is important that AI is designed, deployed and used in a way that is safe and trustworthy. It is about using AI to turn the tide on the hackers.

Investing in cybersecurity

I recently had the chance to sit down with David Morrow, Microsoft’s security channel sales lead in the UK, to discuss the company’s investment into AI within the cybersecurity sector (pictured above).

David explained the importance of AI and machine learning in the cybersecurity landscape, and Microsoft’s $20 billion investment in security to stay ahead of the game.

He said Microsoft’s upcoming Security Copilot would be a “game-changer” in amplifying human capability and responding to rising levels of AI-driven cyberattacks.

David spoke to me as part of our MSP Conversations Series. Over the past few months, I’ve been speaking to industry experts from leading vendors including Sophos, Bitdefender, Webroot and Vade about the latest trends and products which are shaping cybersecurity.

David said, “We’re in a really exciting era at the moment. Generative AI will transform how work gets done, amplifying and augmenting human capabilities.

“At Microsoft, AI is an area we are investing heavily in, especially around cybersecurity. We’re currently halfway through a four-year, $20 billion investment programme which spans everything from research and development to products.

“We’ve got a team of 8,500 people at Microsoft who are responding to cyberattack alerts across the globe. It means we can get a good picture of what is happening in the cybersecurity space, and the latest trends and behaviours.”

Trillions of threats

The number of cyberattack triggers which are detected every day is startling. Microsoft alone detects more than 65 trillion cyberattack threat signals every day, with data collected being used to help equip businesses and users with the latest knowledge of attackers, their tactics, techniques and procedures.

Microsoft’s Security Copilot will help businesses defend themselves from attacks at machine speed, acting as an AI assistant for security teams and slowing them to outpace the hackers. It could prove to be a genuine game-changer in responding to increasingly intelligent cyber threats.

Equipping MSPs

Our Cloud Market platform provides MSPs and resellers with the most trusted security products and solutions, so they can keep their customers safe from attacks and protect the UK’s network of SMEs.

At Giacom, we’re perfectly placed to help MSPs introduce Copilot to their customers. We were one of the few Microsoft partners to be part of the early access programme for Copilot, so we have the hands-on experience to help MSPs and SMBs get up to speed and confident with the product.

Our expert cybersecurity team is on hand to help with any enquiries, and with Copilot having no minimum license requirement for businesses, it’s one of the most powerful and accessible AI-driven tools on the market.

This opinion piece appeared in our April 2024 print issue. You can read the magazine in full here.