SMB Lens: Understanding the Role of AI in Different Use Cases - Whether AI-Led or Human-Led

Total Article Read Time: 3 min


Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the cornerstones of economies worldwide. Their ability to effectively manage their limited resources, maintain operational efficiency, and position themselves for growth are key to their success. They do this by prioritizing and focusing, leveraging technology, and partnering with other businesses to access specialized expertise. So, the opportunities for SMBs to adopt AI in all aspects of their business are limitless - for Marketing and sales, AI can analyze customer data and identify patterns to improve conversion rates and sales effectiveness. Customer service and support: AI-powered chatbots can handle customer inquiries, improving customer satisfaction and reducing response times. Process automation: AI can automate repetitive tasks, increasing efficiency and reducing human error.

SMBs, the Soft Target for Cyber Attacks

When it comes to cybersecurity, SMBs are often viewed as soft targets for cyber attacks due to their limited resources and perceived lack of robust cybersecurity measures, which can put their data and operations at risk. SMBs often lack dedicated cybersecurity personnel, budgets, and expertise, making them vulnerable targets for cybercriminals. Many SMBs, though, underestimate the risk of cyber attacks, believing they are too small to be targeted. However, stats tell a different story - In its 2023 cyber readiness report, Hiscox, a business insurance agency, reported that 41% of small businesses were victim to a cyber attack, a rise from 38% in the 2022, and close to double from 22% in 2021.

Solution for SMBs - MDRs to the rescue

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services can be particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in addressing their cybersecurity needs and compensating for their resource and expertise shortfalls. Here's how MDRs with dedicated human experts can help SMBs:

  • Continuous Security Monitoring: MDR providers offer round-the-clock analysis of an SMB's security events. MDR providers have teams of experienced security analysts and threat hunters who can promptly analyze and respond to security incidents. This continuous monitoring helps detect and respond to potential threats, even outside regular business hours.

  • Incident Response and Remediation: MDR providers can assist with incident response, containment, and remediation efforts, leveraging their expertise and resources to minimize the impact.

  • Threat Detection: MDR services leverage advanced security capabilities to identify sophisticated threats.

  • Cost-optimized Solution: Implementing an in-house Security Operations Center (SOC) can be an expensive proposition for SMBs. MDR services can provide a cost-viable alternative.


So, what's the problem?

While leveraging traditional human-led MDR services offers benefits, SMBs have to make choices with the key performance criteria for their MDR provider. They can select a provider that provides enterprise-grade security capabilities but likely will be cost-prohibitive, or they can choose a cost-effective solution with triage and deep investigations limited to the most critical threats. Or, they can leverage MDR services from their current security provider with limited coverage of their security stack.

AI Native MDRs Provide an Optimal Solution

AI-native MDR services are an emerging approach to cybersecurity that leverages advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to enhance threat detection, analysis, and response capabilities. Here are some key aspects of AI-native MDRs

  • Automated Incident Response: AI advances such as natural language virtual assistants, automated playbooks, and bot-driven case summarization can assist in the rapid analysis and triage of all security incidents, enabling faster and more thorough incident response. AI-native MDRs can provide automated response actions to contain and mitigate threats in minutes instead of hours and days.

  • Continuous Learning: AI-native MDRs continuously learn and adapt to new threat patterns, evolving attack techniques, and changing environments. This adaptive nature ensures that the security solutions remain effective against emerging threats.

  • Enhanced Threat Detection: AI-native MDRs utilize AI and ML algorithms to continuously monitor and analyze vast amounts of security data. This sophisticated analysis can detect threats, anomalies, and patterns that traditional rule-based security solutions or human analysts might miss.

  • Scalable and Cost-effective: AI-native MDRs can provide scalable and cost-effective security solutions for SMBs by leveraging AI-driven virtual security experts and automated processes. They can increase the efficiency and productivity of security operations, enabling human analysts to focus on more complex and critical tasks. This allows SMBs to access enterprise-grade security capabilities at affordable price points.

While AI-native MDRs offer significant advantages, it's important to note that they should complement and enhance human expertise rather than completely replace it. A balanced approach that combines AI-powered capabilities with skilled security professionals is recommended for effective cybersecurity management.

In Conclusion

As technologies evolve, AI-native MDRs will play an increasingly important role in helping SMBs and organizations of all sizes stay ahead of cyber threats while optimizing their security posture and investments. AirMDR can be your partner in this journey.

Anand Ramanathan
AUTHOR: Anand Ramanathan

Chief Product Officer at AirMDR. Former Chief Product Officer of Sky High and SVP Products and Marketing at McAfee

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