Watch out - Artificial Intelligence Can Replace Highly-Skilled Cybersecurity Specialists Too!

Written by EO Executives on Sep 11, 2017

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EO Executives – VP & C-Suite Executive Search

In my previous blog on Artificial Intelligence (AI) (read here) I mentioned that in our post-Brexit world, a continued shortage in the availability of resources to carry out low-skilled labour at often unsociable hours and at low wages may hasten the adoption of robots in both the farming and non-farming sectors (aka hospitality and service sectors).

However, we also have a chronic shortage of higher-end skills, especially those in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sectors. According to the UK Commission for Employment & Skills, 43% of STEM vacancies in UK are hard to fill, due to a shortage of applicants with the required skills or experience. Additionally, there may not be as many people who have the inclination to pursue a career in the more scientific or technical sectors.

Current efforts to address this skills gap through in-work training, apprenticeships, adult-learning, and a revised education curriculum have not been fast enough, nor executed at a large enough scale to plug the in-demand skills gaps in economic sectors like technology, engineering, fintech, e-commerce, gaming and cyber-security. These particular sectors have been helping to drive UK GDP growth significantly, and employers feel that the inability to recruit much-needed skills - in IT and engineering (both IT and non-IT engineering) - are hampering their growth potential.

For example, in the cyber-security sector, a chronic lack of highly in-demand penetration testing and vulnerability assessment skills have in part led some CSO’s (Chief Security Officers) to further increase their usage of more advanced “automated penetration testing” tools that has more sophisticated exploit functions to detect network & application vulnerabilities & intrusions, and prevent cyber attacks. Progress in AI and automation technologies have further improved penetration testing tools. For example, at the NULLCON International Security Conference in Goa last year, a cyber specialist team demo-ed a machine learning vulnerability scanner that can think like a human in order to perform automated penetration testing.

As a result, this demonstrates that both lower-end and certain higher-end skills can be automated successfully to a level that is comparable to what an actual human specialist can do. Again, as AI entities moves up the value chain in the world of work, in some sectors more rapidly that others, the C-suite executives would have to start planning on how to harness the opportunities as well as mitigate potential new risks and issues that creep up as a result.

Where the use of AI technology powers your core business, or is starting to be utilised in your enterprise, or, where men and machines are actually “co-workers” in your company, what are the challenges that you need to navigate your company through?

If you are interested in discussing this in more detail, feel free to get in contact at:  team@eoexecutives.com

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