The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Sides of AI

Computopia or man-made Dystopia
Paul Briggs
July 11, 2023

This month’s Knowledge Exchange will examine both the benefits and the potential dangers of unregulated Artificial Intelligence on Enterprise resourcing, business IT platforms, sales and marketing strategies and also on customer experience. It will also ask if it is possible to pause AI development to roll out ethical and regulated AI that protects and enhances jobs rather than potentially replace them; protects personal data, privacy, and preferences rather than manipulate it for nefarious reasons and that doesn’t spiral us into a “Terminator” or “Matrix” like future where the machines are in control!

The Good Side of AI

As we discussed in last month’s Knowledge Exchange on Hybrid Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has some compelling usages for ITDMs especially when it can help tame IT complexity by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks. It can also be used to learn and write code from past data and be used to autogenerate content and images from multiple sources by mimicking human intelligence and human labour. As the technology develops, there seems to be a whole raft of plug-ins and algorithms that people such as Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella believes will: “Create a new era of computing.”

Copilot (sic) works alongside you, embedded in the apps millions of people use every day: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more…it (sic) is a whole new way of working.

Microsoft 365 head I Jared Spataro

And as corporations and investors are constantly looking at growth, efficiencies and ultimately profit, the lure of AI to support this new paradigm must be insatiable proposition right now, especially as we are seeing a lot of economic pressure from various financial, energy and geopolitical crises.

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Will EMP Attacks Be The Next Emerging Cyber Threat?


This month’s Knowledge Exchange white paper on emerging and existing Cyber Security threats will examine why ITDMs and Business Leaders are extremely worried about a ‘catastrophic cyber event’ that could have more of a societal impact than Covid-19 in next few years, and what ITDMs can do today and longer term to mitigate those risks. 

It may be pure co-incidence, but it was certainly chilling to see that in a matter of weeks after the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2023 annual summit in Davos, Switzerland that warned of a total “grid down” scenario caused by a ‘catastrophic cyber event;’ a mysterious high-altitude balloon was seen floating across America. 

And while many in the mainstream media have quickly judged this and subsequent other balloons to be a surveillance or spy balloons, other commentators claim that most state sponsored espionage is done via satellites1 and that this vehicle has potentially a more sinister capability: The ability to activate an electromagnetic pulse or EMP at high altitude (HEMP) using a smaller lighter nuclear payload. 

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What does the EU’s AI Act mean for artificial intelligence innovation? 

The EU's landmark AI Act gained momentum last week as negotiators from the EU parliament, EU commission and national governments agreed rules about systems using artificial intelligence. The proposal will be passed in the new year by the European Parliament, but what does it mean for the AI technological revolution? 

The draft regulation aims to ensure that AI systems placed on the European market and used in the EU are safe and respect fundamental rights and EU values. This landmark proposal also aims to stimulate investment and innovation on AI in Europe. 

“This is a historical achievement, and a huge milestone towards the future! Today’s agreement effectively addresses a global challenge in a fast-evolving technological environment on a key area for the future of our societies and economies. And in this endeavour, we managed to keep an extremely delicate balance: boosting innovation and uptake of artificial intelligence across Europe whilst fully respecting the fundamental rights of our citizens.” – Carme Artigas, Spanish secretary of state for digitalisation and artificial intelligence. 

Key Points of the provisional agreement: 

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The role IT departments play in achieving business ESG goals 

What is ESG? 

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is a holistic framework for businesses to achieve sustainability beyond just environmental factors, but diversity and societal priorities too. It requires businesses to behave ethically to achieve a sustainable and responsible future.  

  • Environmental: This considers how companies use energy and manage their environmental impact considering factors such as energy efficiency, climate change, carbon emissions and waste management. 
  • Social: Social criteria examine how companies foster their people and culture and the wider implications on society. Factors that are considered include inclusivity, gender and diversity, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, human rights, and labour standards. 
  • Governance: This assesses timing and quality of decision making, governance structure, and the distribution of rights and responsibilities across stakeholder groups. Criteria include business ethics, data security, capital allocations and supply chain management.  

In recent years, ESG goals have gone from being “nice to have”, to a non-negotiable for companies looking to attract new customers, partners, and employees. While many may have primarily focused on “E”, “S” and “G” have increased in priority for companies looking to adapt a 360 approach to sustainability. 

Why is ESG important?  

ESG is important for several reasons. It not only addresses environmental and social challenges, but it also contributes to the overall resilience, sustainability, and success of companies as it focuses on the following areas: 

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As the complexity and intensity of cyberattacks continue to surge, the zero-trust security model is becoming increasingly vital in today’s business world. However, while almost 90% of organizations worldwide have started implementing zero-trust security in some form, only 2% have mature deployments in place. This is about to fundamentally change, however, as the adoption of zero trust continues to accelerate. Estimates show that the current Zero-Trust Security Market size of $32.61 billion in 2024 is expected to reach $73.57 billion by 2029. 

What is Zero Trust Security?

Zero-trust is identity-based security that operates on the “never-trust, always verify” philosophy. It reaches beyond an organisation’s network perimeter with required user and entity identity verification, even from within the network.

Zero trust security has been around for more than a decade, but its importance took a significant turn for enterprises with the COVID-19 pandemic. With employees suddenly working remotely connected to unsecured home networks, the extensive adoption of cloud services, BYOD (bring your own device) policies, and the use of numerous new remote work IT tools, the cyber-attack surface of companies increased exponentially.

The traditional perimeter security architecture, which reached only as far as a company’s network barrier, was no longer sufficient or effective. Zero-trust verification gained momentum instantly, and since then, with the complexity across each enterprise’s digital supply chain continuing to grow and the addition of edge computing, IoT, and AI to business, zero-trust security architecture has become even more essential to businesses.

Core Principles of Zero-Trust Security

The concept of zero-trust is based on three core principles:

  1. Continuous verification: Always monitor and validate all user identities. No machines or users should be automatically trusted. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one of the strongest and most popular methods currently used to verify identity.  
  2. Least Privilege Access: Limit user and entity access only to the specific data, resources, and applications needed to complete their job functions or a required task. This significantly reduces the attack surface and malware propagation, improves operational performance, and safeguards against human error. Role-based Access Control (RBAC) and Attribute-based Access Control (ABAC) are two common methods of granting access to resources or information.
  3. Assume breach: Build and operate processes and systems assuming that a breach has already happened or soon will. This means using redundant security mechanisms (duplicates and backups), micro-segmentation, and automated monitoring and response to prevent, detect, address, and remediate anomalies and threats in near real-time.

Benefits of Zero Trust Security

In 2024, zero trust architecture is now considered best practice across the increasingly complex cybersecurity landscape facing businesses worldwide. The sophistication and quantity of cyber threats will continue to rise, which is why most companies are implementing some level of a zero-trust strategy despite the costs, resources, and time required. ROI is significant and long-term, which is why 77% of enterprises have increased their budget for implementing a zero-trust model, and 96% of security leaders consider this model a critical measure of business success who incorporate zero-trust’s core principles benefit from:

  • Fewer data breaches and faster detection and incident response.
  • Improved business agility and scalability, essential to supporting remote work and the hybrid cloud environment so common today.
  • Reduced costs due to streamlined security tools, eliminating redundancy and manual security processes. Also, with the average data breach costing $4.5m, experiencing fewer breaches has significant cost savings.
  • Increased compliance in meeting a growing number of regulatory standards, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and numerous healthcare and financial information requirements.

Challenges of Zero Trust

While the benefits ensure a measurable ROI, zero-trust implementation for many enterprises comes with some critical challenges.

  • Complexity and cost: Applying a zero-trust strategy requires significant changes to existing infrastructure, which costs money and time. The investment needed must also include security engineers to implement zero trust, IT staff to manage ongoing updates and maintenance, and training and tools to effectively manage the new security environment.
  • Legacy systems integration: Many organizations still have outdated technologies, and integrating zero-trust principles with these legacy systems is a big challenge, if not impossible. Besides the cost of extensive engineering or system replacement, there may be some organizational opposition.  
  • Cultural change: A shift to a zero-trust model is accompanied by new security protocols and practices that employees must understand and adapt to. Resistance to these changes is expected.

To combat these challenges, it’s essential to look at zero trust as a journey instead of a destination. Implementation can be done gradually as long as a clear zero-trust strategy has been defined, including your organization’s goals and an assessment of your current security posture. Progressive implementation should be accompanied by strategic and operational metrics measuring security success, progress, and costs. This will drive better management in budget planning and staffing requirements as well as allow for easier adaptation in operations and by staff.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the zero-trust journey will be different for every business. This comprehensive, identity-centric security approach requires a thorough understanding and assessment of an enterprise’s security needs and capabilities. With the World Economic Forum’s 2024 Global Cybersecurity report indicating that 29% of organizations were materially affected by a cyber incident, the time is now to incorporate zero trust, which is best-suited for today’s complex and dynamic business environments and the growing cyber threat landscape.

Ready to start or continue your zero trust journey?  Connect with a Knowledge Exchange expert to gain the latest insights and information on zero-trust approaches and get the right support in building a zero-trust roadmap that maximizes your enterprise’s cybersecurity.

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Top 5 Security Techniques for Safeguarding Online Presence

Source: Protech Insights

In today’s digital age, safeguarding your online presence is more critical than ever. With cyber threats constantly evolving, traditional security measures may not always be sufficient to protect your sensitive information from prying eyes. In this blog, we’ll delve into advanced security techniques that you can implement to fortify your digital defenses and ensure the safety of your online identity. 

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts by requiring two forms of verification before granting access. In addition to entering your password, 2FA typically involves a second factor, such as a one-time code sent to your mobile device or generated by an authentication app. By enabling 2FA on your accounts, you significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access, even if your password is compromised. 

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a secure server, protecting your data from interception by malicious actors. VPNs are especially useful when accessing public Wi-Fi networks, which are often targets for cyber attacks. By using a VPN, you can browse the web anonymously and securely, shielding your online activities from prying eyes and potential threats. 

Secure Password Managers

Managing passwords for multiple online accounts can be challenging, leading many people to resort to using weak or easily guessable passwords. Secure password managers offer a solution by generating complex, unique passwords for each of your accounts and storing them in an encrypted vault. With a password manager, you only need to remember one master password to access all your other passwords securely. This not only enhances the security of your accounts but also simplifies the password management process. 

Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication utilizes unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, facial features, or iris patterns, to verify your identity. Many modern devices, such as smartphones and laptops, come equipped with biometric sensors that enable convenient and secure authentication. By leveraging biometric authentication, you can add an extra layer of protection to your devices and sensitive data, reducing the risk of unauthorized access. 

End-to-End Encryption

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) ensures that data is encrypted from the moment it is sent until it reaches its intended recipient, preventing anyone, including service providers and hackers, from intercepting or accessing the information in transit. Messaging apps like Signal and WhatsApp employ E2EE to protect the privacy of their users’ conversations. By using E2EE-enabled services and applications, you can communicate securely and protect your sensitive information from eavesdroppers. 


As cyber threats continue to proliferate, adopting advanced security techniques is essential for safeguarding your online presence and protecting your sensitive information from unauthorized access and exploitation. By implementing measures such as two-factor authentication, virtual private networks, secure password managers, biometric authentication, and end-to-end encryption, you can significantly enhance the security of your digital life and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your online identity is well protected. Remember, staying vigilant and proactive is key to staying one step ahead of cyber threats in today’s ever-changing digital landscape.

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Safeguarding Your Digital Assets in an Era of Persistent Threats

Source: Protech Insights

In today’s interconnected world, where digitalization permeates every aspect of our lives, safeguarding our digital assets has never been more critical. From personal information to sensitive financial data, our digital footprint holds a treasure trove of valuable assets that are increasingly targeted by cybercriminals. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of safeguarding your digital assets and discuss proactive strategies to mitigate the risks posed by persistent cyber threats. 

Understanding the Landscape of Cyber Threats 

Cyber threats come in various forms, ranging from phishing scams and malware attacks to data breaches and ransomware incidents. These threats exploit vulnerabilities in our digital infrastructure, including weaknesses in software, inadequate security protocols, and human error. With cybercriminals becoming more sophisticated and organized, the threat landscape continues to evolve, posing significant challenges to individuals and organizations alike. 

The Stakes Are High: Why Digital Asset Protection Matters 

Our digital assets encompass a wide range of valuable information, including personal identity data, financial records, intellectual property, and business-critical information. The loss or compromise of these assets can have far-reaching consequences, leading to financial loss, reputational damage, and legal liabilities. Moreover, in an era of digital transformation, where cloud computing, IoT devices, and interconnected networks are ubiquitous, the attack surface for cyber threats has expanded exponentially, amplifying the importance of robust cybersecurity measures. 

Proactive Strategies for Digital Asset Protection 

  • Implement Strong Security Measures: Start by implementing robust security measures to safeguard your digital assets. This includes using strong, unique passwords for each account, enabling multi-factor authentication, and regularly updating software and security patches to address known vulnerabilities. 
  • Educate Yourself and Your Team: Knowledge is a powerful defense against cyber threats. Educate yourself and your team about common cyber risks, such as phishing attacks and social engineering tactics. Provide training on cybersecurity best practices, including how to recognize and respond to suspicious emails or messages. 
  • Deploy Advanced Threat Detection Tools: Invest in advanced threat detection tools and technologies to monitor your digital environment for signs of malicious activity. Deploy firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and endpoint security solutions to detect and block threats in real-time. 
  • Backup Your Data Regularly: Protect your digital assets against data loss by regularly backing up critical information to secure, offsite locations. Implement a comprehensive backup strategy that includes both onsite and offsite backups, as well as cloud-based storage solutions for added redundancy. 
  • Stay Vigilant and Adapt: Cyber threats are constantly evolving, so it’s essential to stay vigilant and adapt your security measures accordingly. Stay informed about the latest cyber threats and security trends, and be prepared to adjust your defenses as needed to mitigate emerging risks. 


In an era of persistent cyber threats, safeguarding your digital assets is paramount. By understanding the landscape of cyber threats, recognizing the importance of digital asset protection, and implementing proactive cybersecurity strategies, you can mitigate the risks posed by cybercriminals and protect what matters most—your valuable digital assets and sensitive information. Remember, cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and by working together, we can create a safer, more secure digital environment for all.

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