Why AI will be instrumental in advancing government cybersecurity

A new report underscores AI's pivotal role in reshaping the federal cybersecurity landscape and offering solutions to combat evolving threats.

As cyber threats grow increasingly sophisticated and data volumes surpass human analytical capacity, artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as a game-changer in the ongoing battle for federal cybersecurity, according to a new report.

The report, “AI-powered Cybersecurity: Why Government Agencies Need to Adapt,” produced by Scoop News Group and underwritten by Microsoft, identifies several recent developments driving the urgent need for government agencies to adopt AI-powered solutions to safeguard critical assets more deliberately.

Download the full report.

AI-enhanced threats. The infusion of AI into ongoing assaults on U.S. Government data systems by nation-state and criminal adversaries has added new urgency to integrate AI capabilities into agency cybersecurity solutions. Adversaries are increasingly leveraging AI to amplify the speed, scale, and sophistication of their attacks, according to Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence unit, which tracks over 300 unique threat actors and organizations. The report highlights the rising tide of cybercrime-as-a-service attacks, underscoring the escalating nature of a technological arms race.

The data deluge. According to the report, the bigger challenge for agencies is the crushing volume and increasing velocity of data that cyber specialists must analyze and act upon. “Increasingly, cybersecurity is becoming a data science problem” more than a technology problem, says Microsoft Federal Chief Technology Officer Jason Payne. AI-powered solutions offer a scalable approach to data analysis and security data in particular, enabling agencies to identify patterns, anomalies, and potential vulnerabilities that would otherwise remain undetected, the report says.

AI-powered observability:  Additionally, AI-driven solutions enable agencies to observe and respond to threats faster and the agility to adapt their security posture to address evolving attacks, according to Steve Faehl, Microsoft Federal Security Chief Technology Officer. “We are seeing a lot of early benefit from utilizing threat intelligence and AI to harvest all of this signal coming off of zero trust capabilities” that agencies have put in place, he says in the report. That’s important because most agency security operations centers “don’t have a lot of personnel to do that [analysis], so being able to leverage AI instead to harvest those insights automatically and surface them is a great force multiplier for government.”

Shifting left with AI: Another way AI helps improve cybersecurity is by helping software development teams identify and mitigate vulnerabilities earlier in the development cycle. By addressing security concerns earlier in development, agencies can significantly enhance the resilience of their systems and applications and accelerate software development.  AI tools aren’t “just for net new development,” says Payne. “It’s just as valuable for identifying and remediating potential vulnerabilities in existing and legacy code.”

AI-enhanced security products. The report highlights a range of cybersecurity products leveraging AI to improve cybersecurity, including platforms for unifying data, detecting and responding to endpoint threats, and providing multi-cloud identity management tools.

The report, however, also acknowledges the inevitable need and demand for “AI-as-a-Service,” which would provide agencies with access to cutting-edge AI capabilities without requiring them to build and maintain their complex infrastructure.

“The power of AI is going to bring us to a place where we can move beyond just empowering the analysts to do what they’ve always done and start to address intractable problems with the things that we would never have thought to tackle without those additional capabilities,” concludes Faehl.

Download the full report to learn more about the increasing role of AI in cybersecurity.

This article was produced by Scoop News Group for FedScoop and underwritten by Microsoft.

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