Data and privacy

The next big business challenge: How organizations are preparing to secure AI

AI will change most industries but also brings new risks and challenges. Kaspersky’s new research looks at how enterprises worldwide are approaching it.

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Of all investments today, artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming enterprises, enabling them to provide improved services, automate processes and make better decisions. Business leaders must invest in the right tech at the right time, and have the people and systems in place that can guarantee success.

AI will change most industries but also brings new risks and challenges in securing enterprises and safeguarding customers.

Kaspersky’s new research aims to help businesses stay ahead of the changes AI brings, published in this 2024 report, Connecting the future of business: How leaders should prepare for using and securing AI and interconnected technologies.

About the interconnected tech research

Kaspersky surveyed 560 IT security leaders in six regions – North America (US,) Latin America (LATAM: Brazil, Chile, Columbia and Mexico,) Europe (Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland,) Middle East and Africa (META: Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and United Arab Emirates,) Russia and Asia-Pacific (APAC: China, India and Indonesia.)

Respondents were either aware of or involved in cybersecurity decisions about interconnected tech such as AI, web 3.0, data spaces, digital twins, augmented reality (AR,) virtual reality (VR,) 6G and internet of things (IoT.) They worked in organizations with at least 1,000 employees across many sectors. Kaspersky asked how they’re introducing and securing AI and other interconnected technologies. Here’s what the research revealed.

AI is organizations’ significant focus for the next two years

These new technologies are an evolution that started with business intelligence then evolved into data science. We keep finding new ways to gain intelligence from data, and Generative AI is an example of this.

Head of Cybersecurity at a leading bank in Brazil

AI is becoming a cornerstone for organizations striving to stay ahead thanks to its ability to foster innovation. In cybersecurity, AI offers predictive analytics and greater adaptability. Goldman Sachs says global investment in AI will reach 200 billion US dollars by 2025.

AI is more than a technology. It’s a strategy that lets organizations navigate today’s complex business environment.

AI adoption

Nearly all organizations surveyed have already adopted (54 percent) or plan to adopt AI within two years (33 percent.)

Respondents see Generative AI (GenAI) as valuable for improving security technologies’ performance. Goldman Sachs economists Joseph Briggs and Devesh Kodnani say GenAI could boost global labor productivity by more than one percentage point yearly once its use becomes widespread.

IT companies worldwide are upskilling their workforce and undertaking GenAI pilots to avoid falling behind. IT giants Accenture pledged three billion US dollars to data and AI investment, while French tech firm Capgemini is putting two billion Euros towards GenAI over the next three years.

No previous technology wave has captured the attention of leaders and the general public as fast as GenAI […] Companies will need to reinvent how they operate with AI at the core.

Julie Sweet, Chief Executive Officer, Accenture

Securing AI

49 percent of organizations said they were extremely well, or well prepared, to secure AI. Almost 50 percent think AI is slightly or not at all hard to secure.

Compared with securing other interconnected technologies, most organizations felt more prepared to secure AI. In responding to Kaspersky’s survey, the head of cybersecurity at a Brazilian bank said, “I mostly don’t find security problems with GenAI. We already understand how to run and train it.”

While many organizations feel confident in their ability to secure AI, a little over half felt less than well-prepared to secure AI. These businesses need to do more to prepare for the inevitable scale-up of AI-based technologies.

AI makes digital trust and data compliance indispensable

AI introduces new challenges and complexities in protecting sensitive data and maintaining digital trust.

Digital trust is an aspect of customer trust. In Kaspersky podcast Insight Story, emerging tech security expert Malek Ben Salem described digital trust as, “Our confidence that our privacy is protected and secured, the reliability of digital transactions and how sure we are of the identities of those we engage with.”

Tech researchers McKinsey’s 2022 Digital Trust report said 70 percent of people trust companies to protect their privacy, but most companies aren’t meeting their expectations.

Data breaches, unauthorized access and privacy violations can erode digital trust and lead to reputation damage, lost business and regulatory consequences. Building digital trust takes time but is essential to users’ confidence in AI.

How AI impacts digital trust

AI lets organizations collect and store more data about customers, operations and interactions. This wealth of data helps gain insight but also means more risk of breaches.

AI facilitates sharing data between devices, networks and organizations. Data sharing aids collaboration, efficiency and innovation but also means more opportunities for unauthorized access.

As it is relatively new, organizations may struggle to be clear about their practices and security around AI. Without clear communication, trust may break down.

Top ways organizations are improving digital trust and compliance

Adopting zero-trust frameworks is organizations’ top response to the need to improve digital trust, with 81 percent already using or planning to adopt zero-trust within two years. Other actions include pursuing data privacy and cyber resilience regulations (74 percent) and digital sovereignty initiatives (73 percent.)

Kaspersky’s research found companies introducing zero-trust frameworks are better prepared to secure AI and other interconnected technologies: 51 percent of zero-trust framework early adopters said they were extremely well-prepared or well-prepared to secure these technologies, compared with just 27 percent of the rest.

The zero-trust canvas: Painting the future of cybersecurity

The rise of AI is opening the door for organizations to break with all traditions that don’t work for today’s tech realities. Traditional cybersecurity is vulnerable to insider attack because it relies on trusting those within a network’s perimeter while viewing outsiders as suspicious.

Enter: Zero-trust frameworks. The head of IT at cloud provider Searce said, “The zero-trust security model is the only framework that works. The traditional security model can’t do the job, especially for interconnected technologies.”

Under zero-trust frameworks, every user and device must undergo continuous multi-factor authentication (MFA) and authorization, regardless of their trust level. Users and devices get the minimum access needed for their tasks, with constant monitoring of user activity, device behavior and network traffic.

Regulation and compliance

With each territory having different data protection and privacy legislation, global organizations find it hard to achieve consistent standards around AI.

62 percent of leaders find compliance certification hard. They want to see standardized compliance processes across regulations and say online tools and platforms, with clear guidelines, would further simplify certification.

Handling growing challenges and preparing to secure AI

With the scale of change AI will likely bring, organizations must have a strategy to prepare themselves to adopt and secure it.

Kaspersky research uncovered four effective strategies to ensure readiness to secure AI and other interconnected technologies: Adopting security by design principles, training and upskilling your workforce, upgrading your cybersecurity solutions and meeting regulation and standards. The full report, Connecting the future of business, details each strategy.

Interconnected technologies like AI bring huge business opportunities but also a new era of vulnerability to serious cyberthreats. With more data collected and transmitted, cybersecurity measures must get stronger.

Organizations can use effective strategies to safeguard critical assets and fortify customer trust amid a growing interconnected landscape. Leaders must also resource cybersecurity well enough to enable access to improved cybersecurity solutions that can meet oncoming challenges.

Research: Connecting the future of business

How leaders should prepare for using and securing AI and interconnected technologies

About authors

Suraya Casey is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist based in New Zealand. Her interests include cybersecurity, technology, climate, transport, healthcare and accessibility.