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The Escalating Cost of Data Breaches in India and the Role of AI and Automation in Prevention

India has witnessed several data breaches over the years, with incidents like the Air India data leak in February 2021, where hackers stole the personal information of millions of customers, and the data breach of 190,000 Common Admission Test applicants. These breaches have highlighted the increasing frequency and costs of data breaches in the country. In 2023, the average cost of data breaches in India reached a record high of Rs 17.9 crore, with social engineering being the most expensive cause, costing Rs 19.1 crore.

To combat the rising cyber threats affecting both individuals and industries, Cyberabad police commissioner Stephen Raveendra unveiled the establishment of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) councils. These councils comprise cyber security experts and functional units like regional CERT, incident response force, SOC, threat intelligence, and more. The collaboration between industry and law enforcement aims to proactively approach cyber security and preempt attacks.

AI and automation have emerged as powerful tools to contain the costs of data breaches and streamline investigations. Companies using AI and automation experienced a significant reduction in the lifecycle of a data breach compared to those without these technologies. AI-powered cybersecurity solutions can detect and mitigate data breaches effectively, continuously learning from historical data, recognizing patterns, and predicting potential risks. Automated threat response can instantly contain cyber threats, minimizing the impact of breaches.

AI-driven systems can also adapt to evolving threats in real time, staying one step ahead of cybercriminals. These technologies can enhance human expertise by prioritizing and categorizing security alerts, enabling analysts to make well-informed decisions quickly. AI-powered anomaly detection systems can identify unusual patterns of activity that indicate potential data breaches, while vulnerability scanning systems can detect and patch known vulnerabilities. Automated user provisioning and de-provisioning systems can limit access to sensitive data to authorized users.

However, implementing AI and automation alone is not enough to ensure complete immunity from data breaches. Cybersecurity is a multi-layered approach that requires a combination of technical measures, employee education, and ongoing assessments. Regular testing of AI systems is essential to ensure their accuracy and reliability. Companies must foster a culture of security awareness among their employees and comply with data privacy regulations to avoid potential penalties.

CFOs have a critical role in addressing cybersecurity risks and should collaborate with CISOs to align cyber resilience goals with business objectives. AI-driven cybersecurity solutions offer dynamic threat detection and response capabilities, augmenting human expertise and adapting to evolving threats. By incorporating these technologies with other cybersecurity measures, businesses can safeguard sensitive data and protect their reputation. AI-powered security systems act as vigilant sentries, monitoring for threats and responding quickly and decisively when danger is detected. They provide a powerful layer of defense against malicious attacks and play a crucial role in securing data and maintaining cyber resilience.

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