Is Your Enterprise Smarter Than Well-Funded Cyber Criminals?

By Matthew Vulpis, Content Contributor  |  October 19, 2022

Thanks to digital transformation, digital devices and applications now support societies in becoming more sustainable and drive business operations to efficiencies not seen before. At the same time, the abundance of innovative technology has also highlighted flaws and brought challenges that organizations must address. Among them has been the rapid rise in cybercrime.

As our digitized existence continues to expand, the occurrence of cybercrimes has accelerated, and the greater our exposure to data intrusions and fraud or thefts becomes. The plethora of technology now available has created a new breed of cybercriminals, who have grown in volume, speed, and, most dangerously, sophistication, with attackers using every avenue and opportunity to hack into an enterprise's server.

The growth in intelligence among cyber attackers has also made hacks and breaches more detrimental to enterprises, with some attacks being fatal, depending on the size of the company. On average, today, there's a cyberattack every 39 seconds, and it is now estimated that cybercrime will cost companies worldwide $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion in 2015.

The unwanted surge in cybercrime has forced enterprises of all sizes and industries to swiftly adopt cybersecurity applications and solutions. Prior to 2021, 54 percent of companies said their IT departments were not currently sophisticated enough to handle advanced cyberattacks. However, with an annual growth of 12 percent, sales of cybersecurity products and services topped $124 billion by the end of 2021 as enterprises attempted to bolster their digital defenses.

The technology making perhaps the biggest impact in terms of defense has been artificial intelligence. AI has grown quickly and become more commonplace in an array of industries thanks to the organization-level capabilities it offers.

When it comes to cybersecurity, AI is experiencing the same growth that has been documented in other sectors. AI in the cybersecurity market was valued at $8.8 billion in 2019 and has undergone growth at a CAGR of 23.2 percent. These numbers have experts estimating that the market may reach $38.2 billion by 2026.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which brings attention to cyber threats and aims to help individuals and organizations learn how to protect themselves. Proofpoint (News - Alert), an expert in AI applied to cybersecurity challenges, is a participant, offering a Cybersecurity Awareness kit with resources and communications that cover such topics as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA (News - Alert)), managing passwords and PINs, the risks of outdated software, and phishing.

Eric Hahn, former CTO of Netscape, founded the company in 2002. It has since grown to more than 4,000 employees serving over 8,000 enterprises worldwide. The company went public in 2012. In 2020 it generated more than $1 billion in revenue, making it the first SaaS (News - Alert)-based cybersecurity and compliance company to meet that milestone. In 2021, Proofpoint was acquired by Thoma Bravo, a leading private equity software investing firm, in a transaction that valued Proofpoint at $12.3 billion. This is the largest go-private software deal in history.

"The expected continued growth of AI use in cybersecurity comes as no surprise when factoring in the array of benefits it can offer enterprises looking to strengthen their defenses," said Joe Sykora, SVP of Worldwide Channels and Partner Sales at Proofpoint. "For example, advanced AI and ML technologies can help provide better vulnerability and threat management, empowering companies to stay ahead of a continually evolving threat landscape. Companies today need to detect, identify, and prevent a dynamic and increasingly sophisticated range of threats to protect their assets, their employees, and reputation."

Analyzing and assessing existing security measures through AI research can help in vulnerability management. Solutions like Proofpoint's platforms can allow enterprises to fully leverage AI's security benefits by discovering and prioritizing risks, directing incident response, and identifying malware attacks before they come into the picture. 

"AI makes it possible to assess systems exponentially faster than traditional methods, including manual efforts by cybersecurity personnel," Sykora said. "AI platforms increase their problem-solving ability manifold, identifying weak points in the cloud, across networks, within applications, and more. AI helps businesses focus on more strategic security outcomes."

Furthermore, while mimicking some of the best human qualities and leaving out the shortcomings, AI takes care of duplicative cybersecurity processes that cybersecurity teams don’t relish.

"IT security teams were the first to embrace AI, as it frees them up by automating analysis in real time – alerting them based on the policies they set to be notified when risk is identified," Sykora said.

As enterprises now make cybersecurity a priority, especially given increasingly strong compliance requirements, more are looking for AI solutions to add to their repertoire.

Proofpoint's recently announced Intelligent Compliance Platform is an AI-driven cybersecurity solution designed to address new threats, including sophisticated attacks that include social engineering, drawing human beings into the mix, and preying upon employees who can bring a system down with one bad "click."

The platform leverages Proofpoint's proprietary machine learning engine to provide business leaders with AI-powered collection, classification, detection, prevention, search, eDiscovery, supervision, and next-generation predictive analytics while meeting complex compliance and information governance obligations.

"This is an entirely new ballgame," said Nikki Meyer, CVP of Vendor Alliances at Pax8, which includes Proofpoint among the security solutions in its cloud marketplace. "We understand today's organizations are overwhelmed with growing volumes of data that are incredibly difficult to manage, so we were very excited to announce Proofpoint's AI platform to the MSPs we serve. The value is not just for IT – the real value comes when compliance and legal staff no longer must manually search and review petabytes of messages or files from regulatory compliance, supervisory, or investigations. Proofpoint's new Intelligent Compliance Platform vastly improves the detection of non-compliant communications and content while quickly pinpointing supervised insider risks."

Proofpoint's technology transforms the modern-day compliance world, improving efficacy and efficiency through automation. The platform enables intuitive compliance, insider risk, and data management controls to classify and predict risks across a wide array of digital communications channels, files, email, and endpoint activities. This enables Compliance, IT, Information Management, and Legal teams to gain visibility and access information with superior fidelity and context to growing volumes of enterprise data while detecting and preventing corporate and regulatory risks in real time.

The Intelligent Compliance Platform is powered by a combination of several of Proofpoint's leading solutions, including:

  • Proofpoint Capture: Modernizes data collection from the most critical and popular communications collaboration platforms.
  • Proofpoint Patrol: Ensures full compliance and reputation protection from employee social media accounts by monitoring, remediating, and reporting on social media policy violations at scale with intelligent classifiers, automated workflows, and intuitive reporting.
  • Proofpoint Track: Provides complete visibility into the capture stream to ensure that collected communications are received by downstream services such as repositories and supervision tools.
  • Proofpoint Archive: Simplifies storage, search, legal discovery, supervisory, and end-user data access through a cloud-first archive that provides a secure and scalable central repository.
  • Proofpoint Discover: Makes e-discovery and case management easy with a built-in, high-performance search, advanced dashboards and visualizations, no-cost export, and legal hold.
  • Proofpoint Supervision: Satisfies corporate and regulatory compliance requirements by supervising regulated employees and leveraging hundreds of advanced detection scenarios to detect timely communications risks.
  • Proofpoint Automate: Applies market-leading machine learning to help significantly reduce false positives in data collection, monitoring, search, discovery, and supervisory activities. 

AI is becoming a must-have for enhancing the performance of IT security teams. Humans can no longer scale to sufficiently secure an enterprise-level attack surface, and AI gives the much-needed analysis and threat identification that can be used by security professionals to minimize breach risk and enhance security posture.

Edited by Erik Linask
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