Cybersecurity is vital to businesses looking to protect their mission-critical systems and customer data. To understand cybersecurity more, we interviewed Darren Carroll, TierPoint’s Director of Security / Product Management, to get his take on cybersecurity fundamentals, new technology related to IT security, how to improve your IT security, and more. In the first in this two-part series, we dig into his views on leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to enhance your IT security position.
Thoughts on AI and machine learning for cybersecurity
Q: It seems like everywhere you look, someone’s talking about using AI and machine learning to counteract increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats. What are your views on the subject?
As a technologist, I love machine learning and AI. I also think this is the direction we need to be headed. There are just too many bad actors out there hijacking our IoT devices and creating armies of bad bots. We’ll never have the people power necessary to protect ourselves.
I think we’re in a bit of an infatuation period, though. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are buzzwords with great SEO value. Marketing departments use them all the time, and I’m not just talking about the vendors in the IT security space. When you look closely at the “intelligence” embedded into their products, it’s often just an advanced analytics application that’s capable of analyzing an ever-increasing number of data points. Sometimes it’s not even that.
I’d recommend focusing less on the future of the truly artificially intelligent response to threats and more on how you can leverage the increasingly sophisticated security products and services that are on the market right now to improve your security position. That’s probably going to mean automating against the known threats and bubbling up information to a highly qualified human who can analyze what the algorithms are telling us and choose an appropriate response.
Advice on cybersecurity products
Q: What advice would you give an organization looking at some of these advanced security products?
It depends on the organization, but in a lot of cases, I’d say “get help.” That probably sounds a bit self-serving, so let me explain a bit.
As you probably know, we just released a product called CleanIP. This is a next generation firewall that includes not only the firewall functionality itself, but also deployment services as well as 24X7 monitoring by our security engineers.
The backbone of this product is the Fortinet FortiGate Next-Generation Firewall platform. And yes, a business could choose to buy this product and deploy it themselves. But for most businesses, that’s a waste of time and can leave them vulnerable. Most of your small and mid-tier enterprises will buy a next-generation firewall and only enable the historic firewall features and functions. They won’t turn on all that next-gen firewall goodness because they don’t know what’s there, and they don’t have time or the expertise to figure it out.
How CleanIP works
Q: Tell us more about that. Once CleanIP is set up, what do your security engineers do for the customer then?
There’s two sides to that equation. So, we set up CleanIP taking into account the current threat landscape and your current situation – your technologies, regulatory requirements, business scenarios and what have you. But as they say, there’s nothing as constant as change. That’s certainly true in IT security.
There’s always the next threat – ransomware, cryptojacking, new variants of malware… The customer’s environment is just as dynamic. Maybe there’s a new technology they want to deploy or they’re increasing their mobile footprint or acquiring another business. It might even be just a challenge controlling the apps your sales team is installing on their mobile devices.
Every time you turn on something new, it introduces new vulnerabilities. But today’s businesses can’t just sit still. IT has become one of the best competitive weapons a business has. You just need to ensure your IT security policies and practices can keep up with your business aspirations.
Want to learn more about cybersecurity trends and fundamentals?
Stay tuned for the next part of our interview with Darren Carroll where we will dive deeper into the greatest threats to cybersecurity.
In the meantime, read our Strategic Guide on IT Security where we cover topics from data security fundamentals to the latest cybersecurity trends.