ryanking999 - stock.adobe.com

Security and AI occupy SME thoughts

Digital workspace player Espria shares the themes it uncovered at its recent discussion around technology that delivers users peace of mind

Security and getting into a position to take advantage of artificial intelligence(AI), without increasing risk, are top of the to-do lists of SMEs.

These themes emerged from a webinar organised by managed service and digital workspace specialist Espria, which looked to get a sense of the current market landscape.

Security is at the top of almost every piece of research investigating user concerns, with ransomware continuing to be a plague that impacts large numbers of customers, and that experience was echoed by those participating in the webinar.

Mark Olding, sales engineer at Mimecast, said hackers continued to exploit human error to get access to networks, and customers had to remain vigilant.

“Organisations are vulnerable to security breaches caused by their employees. Hence, it is crucial to identify such ‘at risk’ individuals and provide them with better training to improve their security awareness,” he said.

“Our data shows that 90% of security breaches are caused by human error, mainly related to printed materials. While some breaches are intentional, most are accidental and occur when employees follow standard procedures,” he added.

Olding also warned against embracing AI just for the sake of it and overlooking possible security considerations: “It’s important to remember that AI and other buzzwords can sometimes be just that – buzzwords. It’s crucial to take a step back, assess your business needs and security requirements, and then search for the best solution. While many solutions may claim to have AI in them, it shouldn't be the focus when choosing a solution.”

Rob Smith, digital services business development manager at Xerox, said that criminals were looking to gain access to information through the likes of Google and OneDrive.

“It’s important for organisations to invest in security education and training for their staff. This helps make them aware of the risks associated with digital file sharing. To ensure safety, companies should implement automated security measures to detect and block any suspicious activity,” he said.

Smith was also cautious about the increased move by customers to adopt AI, with the technology posing security risks: “There are two ways in which we can approach artificial intelligence. The first one is to use the information we have to make informed decisions. The second one is to use technology to automate our daily tasks,.

“In terms of business goals, most businesses have similar objectives. The first is to increase productivity, which could mean generating more revenue, producing more goods, or delivering more packages. The second is to find ways to perform more efficiently as an organisation.”

Brian Sibley, solutions architect at Espria, said that the SME concerns underlined the importance of working with a capable channel partner that could provide support and help to introduce AI into the business.

The MSP is continuing its webinar events, the Optimise 2024 series, with another one later this month investigating the theme of business readiness.

Read more on Managed IT Services