From SmarterChild to Siri: Why AI is the competitive advantage securing businesses

The dream of an AI-influenced world is finally here. After decades of writing about it, AI has reached a point where it’s ingrained into our daily lives. From the days of SmarterChild – for many, the AIM messenger bot was the first foray into AI – to now the ubiquitous presence of the AI-enabled digital assistant such as Siri, the vision of artificial intelligence transforming
 from sci-fi to reality has come to fruition.

But instead of making us laugh at pre-programmed responses to certain keywords or phrases, the ways in which we interact with AI today feel much more… well, natural. Even simple things like automatic notifications about increased traffic on the commute home are normal occurrences nowadays when they were still a dream just a few years ago.

While many of us still use AI in rather rudimentary ways, the potential of the technology is nearly limitless. Imagine being able to fully automate your morning routine. Not in the Back to the Future Rube Goldberg-style machine making,
 but say you have an early meeting one day. Your alarm and coffee maker automatically adjust to accommodate for your first meeting based on your calendar, and account for the increased or reduced travel time. It’s forecasted to rain that day, so your phone notifies you right before you leave to remember your umbrella.

That’s all fun and easy stuff. Now think of it in a business setting. What if your identity platform could learn user access behaviors and anticipate their future needs as new apps are onboarded. For instance, a new marketing automation tool is onboarded and your marketing managers are automatically granted access without the need
 for someone to remember to request it for them
 or update the enterprise role model – AI can do 

Instead of a quarterly re-certification process, entitlements are reviewed and validated on a continuous basis, making compliance a state rather than an activity. Over time, AI can suggest and implement new policies to fit evolving compliance requirements and security standards. Gigantic sets of data – far too large for any human to process efficiently – can be analyzed and recommendations offered when risky behavior is spotted.

It’s not all or nothing

The advent of AI, though, doesn’t mean the end
 of traditional security or, as some pop culture
 may have you believe, the end of humanity itself. As much as we have become dependent on AI,
 it is also dependent on us. While it can learn and adapt as its environment dictates – and in this case, as the business evolves – it benefits most from human input, especially when it comes to making every day governance decisions. Instead of manually reviewing every access-related activity in your organization, through an AI-enabled system you can flag violations that need a human touch.

In addition, machine learning offers the ability to identify and suggest low-risk manual processes that can be automated, and gives us the ability to put our focus and manpower on more strategic and high-risk efforts.

But rather than hail AI as the panacea to all
 our problems, we must remember AI is a tool
 that augments our own capabilities. While
 it can certainly enhance security and make recommendations based on the data in your organization, it is not the one who decides what happens. You do. You are always in control. AI can empower us to dig deeper than ever before in our businesses, find the most important information, and come out the other side smarter than before.

AI is the facilitator of the future enterprise business and IT architecture. It will be a source of competitive advantage, because with it, we can be free to do more than ever before, all while keeping the same (or higher) level of security that we do today.

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