September 28, 2018

Is AI in the Cards for Cybersecurity?

By Kevin Shaker
Senior Analyst
immixGroup, An Arrow Company

Staying one step ahead of malware, spyware and viruses that could potentially cripple government operations keeps many a CISO and CIO awake at night. Government agencies continue to invest a significant amount in resources trying to thwart cyber threats, while hacker technology evolves rapidly and becomes even more persistent. At the same time, government is readily embracing newer technologies, such as cloud and the Internet of Things, which bring new security challenges with them.

So, it’s not surprising that artificial intelligence and machine learning are starting to get the attention of federal, state and local government IT leaders who recognize its potential in the cyber domain.

One area of concern is the Internet of Things, where AI integration can improve security measures to prevent infiltration at the many nodes that comprise the large node and sensor-heavy edge. The benefit would be that people wouldn’t have to reprogram its many layers.

Federal IT managers see cybersecurity as the largest growth area for AI across the government. But not quite yet. In the first quarter of FY18, only 21 percent of leaders surveyed by MeriTalk are confident the technology is mature enough to be considered safe. Only 46 percent want the technology adopted in current form.

This isn’t surprising as the technology is still rather new in its application to government machines. And like most new IT, it’s met with a healthy dose of skepticism at first. But the number of influencers is likely to rise as success stories emerge. On the other hand, 79 percent of those polled by MeriTalk agree that AI and machine learning have a place within government if done correctly.

The Department of Defense and intelligence agencies are significantly further along in adopting the technology than their civilian counterparts—over 12 percent more stakeholders are discussing it in their CIO offices. Chris Lynch, director of the Defense Digital Service, a technology shop within the White House, recently said he would like to see machine learning incorporated into the massive Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud, which would make it revolutionary and set it apart as a key differentiator.

AI is not just a buzzword, it’s an up and coming technology that’s finding its way into government. Now is the time for companies to start targeting DOD and intel agencies with AI and machine learning solutions that address cybersecurity challenges. Those early success stories can then help bring the technology into civilian agencies.

Learn more about Arrow’s cybersecurity offerings.