Dell Report: The Role of Cybersecurity in the age of Gen AI

Dell Report Finds Half of Organisations Suffered a Cyberattack or Incident That Prevented Access to Data, With Gen AI a Tool for Bolstering Defences

More than half of organisations suffered a cyberattack or incident that prevented access to data in 2023, highlighting the ongoing essential nature of business cybersecurity.

The 2023 Global Data Protection Index Report by Dell Technologies has found that IT disruption today is commonplace, with the vast majority (90%) saying their organisations experienced some form of IT disruption in 2023. Over half (55%) of those who experienced a cyberattack event said attackers’ first point of entry was external – such as users clicking on spam or phishing emails and malicious links, or compromised user credentials, highlighting how the shift to remote and hybrid working models has magnified IT operational challenges. 

According to Dell’s study, disruptions that included data loss cost on average of US$2.61m in 2023, accounting for an average of 26 hours of unplanned downtime and resulting in an average of 2.45TB worth of data loss. Costs associated with cyberattacks and related incidents have also doubled, up from US$660,000 in 2022 to US$1.41m in 2023. 

“The doubling of costs associated with cyberattacks in the last year is shocking,” explains Steve Young, SVP and MD at Dell Technologies UK. “It's also concerning that over half of those who experienced a cyberattack event said the attacker's first point of entry was external, such as users clicking on phishing emails and malicious links.

"Cybercrime continues to evolve in sophistication, and as the capabilities of Gen AI expand, threat actors will uncover vulnerabilities faster and become increasingly convincing in their deception. Gen AI is one way to leverage innovations to shore up defences, but it also creates new volumes of data that naturally become harder to protect and more easily targeted. 

“Multicloud still appears to be the preferred strategy for organisations seeking to deploy or update applications, but the increasingly distributed nature of data is causing data protection concerns. This emphasises the importance of having a coherent multi-cloud strategy that enables consistent cyber resilience capabilities across public cloud ecosystems and private cloud and edge environments. Only by doing so can an organisation's defences remain as dynamic as the evolving threats it faces.”   

The role of Gen AI in cybersecurity 

AI's ability to analyse vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and make intelligent decisions in real-time has positioned it as a game-changer in the ongoing battle against cyber threats. As foundational models continue to evolve, AI is a solution businesses should certainly consider implementing when it comes to combatting these risks and threats.  

According to Dell’s report, Gen AI is emerging as a strategic tool for bolstering defences, with 52% of those surveyed saying that integrating Gen AI will provide an advantage to their organisation’s cybersecurity posture. However, showing the dual nature of Gen AI as both a defensive asset and a source of complexity, 88% also agreed that the adoption of Gen AI will generate large volumes of new data that will need to be protected and secure. The same percentage (88%) agreed that Gen AI will amplify the value of specific data types, which will also require additional and higher measures of security.

When it comes to ransomware attacks, responses suggest an overconfidence surrounding the consequences of a breach. Three-quarters (74%) believe that if their organisations experience an attack, they would get all of their data back if they paid the ransom. Furthermore, 66% believe that once they pay the ransom, they won’t be attacked again. 

“Nearly half of UK organisations suffered a cyberattack or incident that prevented access to data last year, and many now recognise the significant new cybersecurity challenges posed by Gen AI," comments Rob Tomlin, Vice President, UK Channel, at Dell Technologies. "It can be a powerful tool to strengthen organisations' cyber posture while simultaneously creating new attack vectors and increasing the risk of cyber attacks. This duality represents significant implications for the channel, with the partners that develop the right skills and resources to assist their customers in responding to these challenges ensuring themselves a substantial competitive advantage.”

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