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Lack of understanding of artificial intelligence and machine learning contributing to cybersecurity attacks

By Shannon Williams, Wed 29 Sep 21

While use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is high amongst IT decision makers, more than half are unsure what the technology actually means, new research has revealed.

Webroot has released its annual artificial intelligence and machine learning report, which reveals how IT professionals perceive and use these advancing technologies in business.  

According to the research, while 93% of IT decision makers in Australia and New Zealand use artificial intelligence and machine learning, more than half (51%) admit they are unsure what the technology means. Although understanding around these tools is increasing (64% of global respondents were unsure what artificial intelligence and machine learning meant in 2020), this is happening at a significantly slower pace than the adoption rate. 

Webroot says this lack of understanding may be why Australia was the country where enterprises were most likely to cite struggling to keep up with the latest technology as the reason they were unable to prevent a cyberattack in the last year.

Australia and New Zealand highlights of the report from enterprise respondents include:               

  • Only 43% of total cybersecurity tool spend was spent on tools that use AI and/or machine learning.
  • Of those who suffered a damaging cyberattack in the past year, respondents blamed personal device issues (41%), choice of cybersecurity vendor (38%) and struggling to keep up with the latest technology (36%) as the main reasons why they were unable to prevent it.
  • 80% of enterprises believe they could be doing more to better defend against attacks.
  • 44% of enterprise IT decision-makers in Australia and New Zealand plan to focus on increased AI or machine learning adoption in 2021.

"It's clear from these findings that there is still a lot of confusion around artificial intelligence and machine learning, especially when it comes to the benefits of the technology," says Matt Aldridge from Webroot.

"But with cyberattacks and other data threats on the rise, coupled with the challenges of managing a remote or hybrid workforce post-pandemic, it is crucial that businesses improve their understanding of these tools and pair them with backup and disaster recovery solutions," he says. 

"By doing so, they will be able to improve security, maintain cyber resilience and ensure service availability."

Aldridge says by vetting and partnering with cybersecurity vendors who have long-standing experience using and developing artificial intelligence and machine learning, and who can provide expert guidance, businesses can close the gaps in their security and continuity lineups and protect against attacks and data loss.

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