The cybersecurity tools you implement can make a difference in the financial future of your business. According to the 2023 IBM Cost of a Data Breach report, organizations using security AI and automation incurred fewer data breach costs compared to businesses not using AI-based cybersecurity tools.

The report found that the more an organization uses the tools, the greater the benefits reaped. Organizations that extensively used AI and security automation saw an average cost of a data breach of $3.60 million, compared to $4.04 million for those reporting limited use of AI and security automation. Organizations that did not use AI and security automation at all experienced significantly higher breach costs at $5.36 million.

In the past, organizations that paid ransom saw savings in the cost of a beach. However, those savings are dwindling. The survey found that organizations that were the victim of a ransomware attack and didn’t pay ransom spent an average of $5.17 million compared to the $5.06 million average of organizations that did pay the required ransom. Businesses looking to reduce their costs of a breach now must look for new approaches, such as using AI and security automation.

How AI and security automation works

The technology in AI-based tools scans vast amounts of data containing information on typical activity for the organization for the day/time, current threats and behavior that indicates cybercriminal activity. The tool then uses the data to predict potential cyberattacks that are launching or in progress and notify cybersecurity professionals in near real-time. Because the majority of initial attacks begin with compromised credentials, AI-based tools can detect behavior patterns, such as an ISP address or time of day, that indicate unauthorized use.

Traditional tools send alerts to the cybersecurity professionals at the organization for almost every abnormal activity. Professionals must then evaluate each alert, which takes considerable time away from their primary job. For example, the 2022 US Open Tennis Tournament saw over 3 million security events, each of which had to be reviewed.

AI-based security tools filter out non-threatening activities, which reduces false positive readings. Cybersecurity professionals can then devote their time and resources to mitigating actual threats, which decreases time to detection as well as recovery.

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Benefits of using AI and automation

When a breach is detected sooner, it can be resolved faster and cause less damage, which means a lower cost and time to recover. Breaches detected in less than 200 days cost an average of $3.93 million compared to $4.95 million for those detected after 200 days.

When combined with automation, AI-based tools can also free up your cybersecurity workforce to focus on high-level tasks throughout the day. Many manual and repetitive tasks can now be performed by AI-based tools through automation. By no longer having these tasks on their to-do lists, security professionals can devote more time and resources to proactively protecting the organization and preventing data breaches.

AI-based tools with automation also help improve compliance in industries such as healthcare and finance. Because the tools can parse different streams of data from different sources, they improve regulatory compliance and save resources while meeting regulations. Additionally, organizations that stay in compliance lower their risk of costly fines and reputation damage.

With the increase in remote work, AI and security automation tools are more critical than ever. Remote work increases both the chances and costs of a data breach. Because remote work eliminates the perimeter, organizations now have significantly increased risk. Breaches also take longer to detect with remote work, further raising costs. By using AI and security automation tools, organizations can decrease the average cost of a breach by $173,074.

Investing in cybersecurity

As organizations carefully consider their budgets, it’s more critical than ever to make investments that go the furthest for reducing risk and the cost of a breach through data protection solutions and AI cybersecurity solutions.

Here are four key areas for cybersecurity investment:

  • Employee training. Organizations can significantly reduce the cost of a breach by an average of $232,867 through cybersecurity training for their employees. Because many breaches and cybersecurity attacks begin with an unintentional human error, training can raise employee awareness as well as provide information on how to reduce risk if they make a mistake, such as clicking on a phishing email.
  • Incident response (IR) team. Organizations can also reduce costs by creating an incident response team that oversees people, technology and processes. By using an IR, organizations can reduce their average breach cost by $221,794.
  • Identity and access management (IAM). Through IAM, organizations analyze users, devices, activity, environment and behavior to determine the risk of unauthorized use. IAM lowers the cost of a breach by $180,358. It also makes it easier to provide easy access for employees to do their jobs while keeping out unauthorized users.
  • Data security/protection software. The right technology also helps significantly reduce the costs of a breach. Data security/protection software reduces the average cost of a breach by $170,412.

Every dollar spent on a breach is money that isn’t available to help grow the organization’s future. By proactively taking the right steps and making the right investments in AI and security automation, your organization can reduce the risk and cost of a data breach.

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