Interview

Artificial intelligence is the way forward for enterprise security: Sunil Sharma, Sophos

With neural network techniques enabling data analysis at a colossal rate, AI is slowly becoming the most significant technology trend today, says Sunil Sharma of Sophos.

Newer technologies go hand in hand with newer threats. With complex ransomware attacks targeting every part of the globe at one go, cybercriminals have now become even more sophisticated. If there is a new weapon to tackle them, you bet they already know all about it. What’s worse is that the same weapon, which should have saved you, may now be your downfall.

At times like this, how can security vendors and the enterprise stay one step ahead of these attacks and be invulnerable, or at least powerful enough to recover fast? Barely a month, after WannaCry crippled so many nations, a similar ransomware, Petya, wrecked the enterprise using the very same vulnerability, only in a more sophisticated manner.

CSO India reached out to Sunil Sharma, VP—sales, Sophos India and SAARC to understand that newer technologies can be both your friend and foe and how the enterprise should be armed for both.

Will newer technologies actually help the enterprise security space?

Artificial intelligence is the most significant technology trend in play today. The large volume of traffic data floating about is the key area where AI can make an effective contribution. At Sophos, we are leveraging neural-network algorithms to recognize the behaviors of unknown malware and zero-day attacks.

Just like any new technology, every enterprise security leader should understand the security risks of robotics that connect to their network. Any device connected to or operated by, your corporate network poses a potential attack vector for a cyber-criminal. AI and neural network techniques are allowing industries to analyze enormous volumes of data in a way that was inconceivable just a few years ago. This is bringing many new and exciting possibilities.

With the rise in ransomware attacks, how prepared do you think the Indian security space is to tackle one?

In 2017, we expect attacks to become more complex. Cybercriminals will bring together multiple technical and social elements, and probe an organization’s network to attack a specific target that is more prone. Ransomware will evolve and as vendors work to prevent ransomware, cyber criminals will look for new ways to evade detection with this lucrative threat.

IT and data security will be high up on the radar of CIOs and CISOs this year, and this trend will be irrespective of industries. From banks, IT services providers, educational institutions, healthcare organizations to the government, we expect levels of IT security spending to continue to increase.

With smarter and more adaptive malware, how can security vendors ensure that their products stay ahead of these threats?

The threat landscape is constantly changing and enterprises and individuals need to be extra vigilant to protect against cyber criminals who amp up their nefarious ways while your guard is down. Today’s IT security products are threat-centric and complex point products, often not as coordinated as the attacks they are supposed to defend against. To reverse the trend of increasing incidents and breaches, a synchronized approach is required that can effectively secure today’s businesses and are designed to make security components work better together to improve protection and respond to security incidents. Synchronized security is the future.