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AI and Machine Learning for Small Business Cybersecurity: Now More Possible Than Ever

About half a decade ago, AI implementation in business was rare and seemingly out of reach for most, thought to be possible only for large organizations with big budgets and personnel. In fact, a 2019 Gartner CIO survey showed that AI was increasingly being used by large organizations at the time, with 37% of them implementing the technology in some way.

Don’t let this statistic fool you. The idea that AI and Machine Learning (ML) implementation for small businesses that do not have big budgets is nearly impossible has become a short-sighted myth. 

In recent years, technology companies have increased their AI/ML offerings to small businesses. An Intuit research study found that small businesses are actually already adopting this next generation technology for many parts of their business–and as we enter 2021, the use of AI/ML can hugely benefit SMB cybersecurity to combat increasing cyber attacks on this sector.

It’s clear: small businesses are taking advantage of advanced AI/ML technology now more than ever before. Here are some ways AI can benefit your small business’s cybersecurity today. Implement it now to get ahead of the crowd:

Automate repetitive (and complicated!) security tasks 

It’s long been known that small business owners would rather focus on marketing and sales than keep their security operations in check. For small businesses with little to no budget, maintaining security tasks can be daunting. 

Thankfully, AI/ML has evolved to help give SMBs peace of mind, reducing the manual work and monitoring required to appropriately keep up with latest cybersecurity practices (SMBs, after all, are now the #1 target for cyber attack–no matter how small they are). 

Gone are the days of constantly upgrading and deploying complicated pieces of security software, learning security skills, and manually backing up data and information. Now, there are one-stop shop AI powered cybersecurity platforms that can do this all for you, on auto-pilot. With these security responsibilities automated, more focus can be placed on cases that require human judgment.

And this technology doesn’t only help with decreasing cybersecurity tasks specifically–many small businesses are now using AI/ML to effectively automate repetitive responsibilities in other areas of their business, such as hiring and retention via HR AI-driven technologies, improving customer service, and managing inventory.

Monitor, identify and respond to cyber threats efficiently and effectively

The reality is that small businesses are easy pickings for cyber criminals, with ransomware and malware attacks skyrocketing– the average ransomware attack payout is now $177,000. The strategies and tools criminals use to hack common antivirus software and firewall systems are becoming more sophisticated by the minute. Small businesses must find a way to combat this infiltration, and they can now do this by using AI.

AI technology can analyze user behaviour, then infer a pattern to help it identify abnormal deviations in a business’s network. This makes it possible to quickly detect vulnerable areas in the network and act upon these vulnerabilities to safeguard against future attacks from unrecognized sources. 

In addition, ML algorithms are trained on the range of malware that was detected on a system in the past. This technology can proactively detect, foreseeing breaches and predicting the types of malware that might infiltrate the network in the future. And, even better–when it comes across a new type of malware, it can compare this form of malware to its database of commonalities and patterns. So when a future attack happens, the ML algorithm can create a fast, high-quality response to block it based on previous malware experiences. 

With the wide range of malware attacks cyber criminals are throwing at small businesses today, this AI/ML combination can literally be a business-saver.

Track user activity and behaviour

With the push of small businesses going online and the boom of eCommerce, the incidence of an inside, user-induced cyber attack can quickly put an unknowing SMB out of operation. And that’s not to say that only businesses that operate online in any capacity are susceptible– cyber criminals also target businesses that operate offline, infiltrating vulnerable personal networks and devices that may contain critical financial and customer information.

Understanding how employees and users of a business’s network work is critical to identifying and mitigating anomalous behaviour that could be harmful. 

An AI-powered cybersecurity platform for small businesses can take on several actions, including tracking users’ daily activity and behaviour on a business’s network. In this way, it “gets to know” you, your employees, and any other individual that has access to your business, developing an understanding of behavioural patterns and typical actions your network’s users make. This understanding allows the platform to detect anomalous behaviour and remediate infected hosts, malicious files, compromised user accounts, and attacker-controlled traffic.

A popular example of AI tracking user daily activity is a scenario where an employee opens an email that appears to come from a trustworthy source, and clicks on a phishing link. The AI technology can be trained to deduce that this action is not normal for the employee, based on past behaviour, and flag this action immediately as a potential risk. 

Helps prevent business interruption and lost revenue

The reality is that deploying small business security is complex, requiring constant monitoring of all the tools, software and employees a small business can have. Besides that, recovering from a cyber attack isn’t cheap– and in most cases, your business operations can come to a complete halt, resulting in several hours, if not days, of downtime. That’s a lot of lost potential revenue for any business.

AI/ML can conduct its work in the background of your business, providing ongoing analyses, threat-detection and efficient, quality response concurrently with normal business operations. This is a level of protection that is being used increasingly by SMBs, because the value of having a workhorse like AI/ML working autonomously, detecting and responding to malware, breaches and disrupting issues, is hard to beat.

It is important that the workflow across your entire organization is uninterrupted. AI/ML reacts promptly to prevent major disruptions to this workflow, saving businesses a ton of time and money that they would otherwise be required to spend in the aftermath of an attack, resulting in business interruption.

Implement AI/ML powered cybersecurity in your Small Business today

The pandemic has presented unique challenges to small businesses to date, and one perpetuating issue is cybersecurity. Luckily, AI/ML technology is now available to small businesses, and it is being used in business operations increasingly as SMBs begin to understand and experience its enormous value.

AI/ML powered cybersecurity platforms are no exception– with 60% of small businesses closing within 6 months of a cyber attack, the need for better security is critical. Transmosis CyberOPS’s next generation, AI-driven cybersecurity platform, combined with the added layer of a 24/7 virtual Security Operations Center monitored by U.S. analysts, was built specifically for small businesses. Better yet, the entire Fortune 5000 platform is affordable for the little guys with smaller budgets, comes bundled with cyber liability insurance, and is deployed in a flexible monthly subscription. 

With the new normal of remote work in this pandemic, small businesses should take advantage of this powerful AI technology. Learn how Transmosis CyberOPS has made this enterprise level cybersecurity accessible to small businesses here.

AI and Machine Learning for Small Business Cybersecurity: Now More Possible Than Ever