SmartStateIndia
Interview

Harnessing AI for Cybersecurity in Ever-Evolving Threat Landscape: Insights from Maheswaran S. of Varonis

As organizations in India navigate the complex terrain of integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into their business systems, they seek innovative solutions to bolster their defenses against ever-evolving threats. Maheswaran S, the Country Manager at Varonis, shares his expert insights on how AI is reshaping the cybersecurity landscape, the challenges it presents, and the strategies organizations must adopt to securely harness its potential. In this interview, he elucidates the benefits and risks associated with AI, the importance of data governance, and the latest trends driving the future of cybersecurity in India.

Can you explain how AI is currently impacting the cybersecurity landscape in India?

AI is bringing significant benefits to the cybersecurity landscape in India by improving productivity, operational efficiency, and providing insights that were previously unattainable. Many organizations are already testing or piloting AI solutions, with some having fully embraced the technology. However, it’s important to note that AI also introduces risks if not managed properly. The key is to have an adequate framework in place to mitigate these risks, particularly concerning data security and privacy. For example, generic tools like OpenAI’s Copilot can be misused to access sensitive information such as salaries and credentials if data governance is not robust.

What steps should organizations take to securely embrace AI in their cybersecurity strategies?

Organizations should view AI’s impact on cybersecurity primarily as a data issue. This means having a comprehensive data governance program that provides visibility into what data AI is accessing, why it is accessing it, and whether the access is necessary or due to data being overexposed. By understanding these aspects, organizations can establish an effective governance framework that ensures AI is embraced securely. Our platform helps organizations achieve this by providing visibility into data exposure and automating the remediation of unnecessary data access.

How does Varonis help organizations approach AI securely?

Varonis assists organizations in approaching AI securely by helping them gain visibility into critical data that AI might access. We enable organizations to understand why certain data is exposed and whether the exposure is justified. This involves identifying overexposed data and automating the remediation process to limit unnecessary access. Additionally, we help organizations manage the blast radius—how much data AI can access and why—and ensure that regulatory information, such as data subject to privacy laws, is not inappropriately touched by AI.

Can you describe the AI capabilities within the Varonis platform?

Varonis leverages AI in several key areas:

  1. Data Identification: Automatically identifying important data amidst huge volumes, taking into account different sensitivities based on geography and industry.

  2. Overexposure Risks: Using AI to understand and eliminate overexposure risks by analyzing user access permissions and behaviors.

  3. Threat Modeling: Building behavior-based threat models by enriching telemetry data from various platforms to detect suspicious activities.

  4. Athena AI: Our AI-powered SOC analyst tool helps organizations quickly search and identify critical incidents among the noise, making it easier to detect and respond to threats.

What upcoming trends do you see shaping the future of cybersecurity, particularly in India?

AI is poised to significantly shape the future of cybersecurity by enhancing productivity and aiding in threat detection and containment. With the ongoing cybersecurity skills shortage, AI can help organizations detect threats faster and gain visibility into previously obscure areas. We also see a trend towards increased automation in cybersecurity, allowing for automatic threat detection and containment. In compliance-driven industries, especially in India with the upcoming DPDP bill, privacy is becoming integral to cybersecurity strategies. Organizations are focusing on privacy initiatives to comply with regulations and manage data subject access requests effectively. Lastly, there’s a growing emphasis on improving cybersecurity awareness through real-time technology solutions.

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