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Will robotics and AI start a revolution in the finance sector?

24 Nov

A major revolution seems to be taking place within the world of finance. New technology in the form of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) is being introduced and looks set to overhaul the way we work. 

Once confined to businesses’ IT departments to detect security breaches, user issues and to automate tasks, AI is currently used in financial services for stock trading, predicting fraudulent transactions and determining risks. However, this looks set to be the tip of the iceberg as organisations begin to realise the opportunities AI and robotics present to finance departments and the benefits it could bring, particularly through the use of automation.

There are several major benefits of RPA, not only does it perform tasks as accurately as a human user, but it does so faster and without errors. While the tasks themselves have to be simple and repetitive, this technology can allow for some of the more mundane tasks a finance team deals with to be automated. Though RPA is yet to be widely used in the finance sector, it presents the opportunity for financial professionals to automate tasks such as invoicing. This would see the hundreds of invoices usually dealt with manually automatically inputted and processed within the system, saving hours of time usually spent by individuals on the task. Similarly, there is potential to automate the processing of mortgage applications with automatic financial advice provided based on algorithms. Other processes that could be automated include processing bank mutations and compiling reports. All of these tasks are regular features within the sector.

Furthermore, jobs which have previously been automated will be able to go one step further. For example, it is currently possible to automate the process of segmenting customers into groups based on established rules. Thanks to new technology, AI’s capabilities can now extend to improving the assessment of a customer’s creditworthiness. Previously, this assessment involved rules that were very black and white, with credit managers assessing any grey areas. However, AI can now be introduced to make new connections to assess these grey areas – making it easier for informed decisions to be made on credit risks.

 With RPA proven to have greater accuracy than people, its use could lead to increased quality and lower costs. Thanks to this accuracy and ability to carry out automated tasks, financial professionals will find that they have more free time which they can spend on bigger tasks. This would allow them to focus more closely on making a difference to their organisation and customers, rather than on the smaller but time-consuming tasks.

Benefits for credit managers

AI and RPA could also improve the transparency of financial processes for credit managers, particularly that of the order to cash process. One of the main processes in a financial firm is the order to cash chain – a collection of business processes for the receipt and processing of orders and ultimately their payments. Without this process, continuous cash flow is not possible, and this has consequences for an organisation’s survival. This is one particular area that AI and RPA could be put to good use, allowing for some of the simpler, more repetitive tasks to be automated and for finance professionals to focus only on exceptional cases that can’t be processed by RPA. Additionally, the technology will ensure all financial information is up-to-date and comprehensible in real-time so that finance professionals can focus on analysis and strategy.

This new technology will also make it possible to achieve much more with data that is being collected by finance departments. One such example is performing reliable predictions based on the past. For example, AI can analyse data in software solutions and determine if there are any patterns in order to predict events, such as which customers will fall into payment arrears. This will allow credit managers to determine when action should be taken and whether to approve credit. In turn, this is likely to increase cash flow as finance teams have an increased awareness of which customers should or shouldn’t have their credit approved. Predictions made by AI can also be applied to other processes, such as the invoicing method, as AI can predict which payment method will result in the invoice being paid quickest, and transferring customers to collection agencies.

 The future for financial professionals

It is clear that a large number of the benefits of AI and robotics in this field stem from the ability to automate processes which reduces time spent on them and increases the potential of financial professionals to spend time on more important tasks. These technologies also remove risks of human error, which in the financial sector can be costly, and can improve job satisfaction as workers get to look at the bigger picture issues while machines deal with the more mundane day-to-day tasks. However, despite these many benefits, there is another way in which RPA and AI could instigate a revolution within the sector – and this one might be a harder pill to swallow.

Unlike humans, robots are productive 24 hours a day, seven days a week; they never tire and are never sick. They are also getting smarter and more affordable. Ultimately, they sound like the ideal ‘employee’ and this could have a wider impact on the sector with research suggesting 230,000 finance jobs could disappear by 2025[1]. Although this presents a major concern for financial professionals, it will be up to them to create new jobs which can be added to this new world of robotics and algorithms. While this is concerning, it has parallels with the Industrial Revolution. Looking back through history, the Industrial Revolution meant many jobs were wiped out as machinery took its place. Although not on the same scale, and replacing brainpower rather than physical labour, financial professionals should look to this period for inspiration and begin to create new jobs.

That said, job losses are just theoretical at this stage and in the immediate future new technology presents the financial sector more benefits than it does risks, allowing individuals to focus on the more interesting aspects of their jobs while tasks such as invoicing are automated. Despite the concerns, AI isn’t about replacing workers but about aiding them to do their jobs better. It isn’t a surprise that workers feel slightly vulnerable, however, the introduction of these technologies should be viewed as a net positive.

There is no doubt that robotics and AI will revolutionise the finance sector in the coming years thanks to its ability to automate, simplify and increase the speed of processes. Change is undoubtedly a risk but failing to change is the bigger risk and failing to adopt these new technologies is likely to mean being left behind by the competition.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor artificial intelligence

Source: https://ibsintelligence.com/leaders/will-robotics-and-ai-start-a-revolution-in-the-finance-sector/

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IoT, encryption, and AI lead top security trends for 2017

28 Apr

The Internet of Things (IoT), encryption, and artificial intelligence (AI) top the list of cybersecurity trends that vendors are trying to help enterprises address, according to a Forrester report released Wednesday.

As more and more breaches hit headlines, CXOs can find a flood of new cybersecurity startups and solutions on the market. More than 600 exhibitors attended RSA 2017—up 56% from 2014, Forrester noted, with a waiting list rumored to be several hundred vendors long. And more than 300 of these companies self-identify as data security solutions, up 50% from just a year ago.

“You realize that finding the optimal security solution for your organization is becoming more and more challenging,” the report stated.

In the report, titled The Top Security Technology Trends To Watch, 2017, Forrester examined the 14 most important cybersecurity trends of 2017, based on the team’s observations from the 2017 RSA Conference. Here are the top five security challenges facing enterprises this year, and advice for how to mitigate them.

  1. IoT-specific security products are emerging, but challenges remain

The adoption of consumer and enterprise IoT devices and applications continues to grow, along with concerns that these tools can increase an enterprise’s attack surface, Forrester said. The Mirai botnet attacks of October 2016 raised awareness about the need to protect IoT devices, and many vendors at RSA used this as an example of the threats facing businesses. While a growing number of companies claim to address these threats, the market is still underdeveloped, and IoT security will require people and policies as much as technological solutions, Forrester stated.

The Internet of Things (IoT), encryption, and artificial intelligence (AI) top the list of cybersecurity trends that vendors are trying to help enterprises address, according to a Forrester report released Wednesday.

As more and more breaches hit headlines, CXOs can find a flood of new cybersecurity startups and solutions on the market. More than 600 exhibitors attended RSA 2017—up 56% from 2014, Forrester noted, with a waiting list rumored to be several hundred vendors long. And more than 300 of these companies self-identify as data security solutions, up 50% from just a year ago.

“You realize that finding the optimal security solution for your organization is becoming more and more challenging,” the report stated.

In the report, titled The Top Security Technology Trends To Watch, 2017, Forrester examined the 14 most important cybersecurity trends of 2017, based on the team’s observations from the 2017 RSA Conference. Here are the top five security challenges facing enterprises this year, and advice for how to mitigate them.

1. IoT-specific security products are emerging, but challenges remain

The adoption of consumer and enterprise IoT devices and applications continues to grow, along with concerns that these tools can increase an enterprise’s attack surface, Forrester said. The Mirai botnet attacks of October 2016 raised awareness about the need to protect IoT devices, and many vendors at RSA used this as an example of the threats facing businesses. While a growing number of companies claim to address these threats, the market is still underdeveloped, and IoT security will require people and policies as much as technological solutions, Forrester stated.

“[Security and risk] pros need to be a part of the IoT initiative and extend security processes to encompass these IoT changes,” the report stated. “For tools, seek solutions that can inventory IoT devices and provide full visibility into the network traffic operating in the environment.”

2. Encryption of data in use becomes practical

Encryption of data at rest and in transit has become easier to implement in recent years, and is key for protecting sensitive data generated by IoT devices. However, many security professionals struggle to overcome encryption challenges such as classification and key management.

Enterprises should consider homomorphic encryption, a system that allows you to keep data encrypted as you query, process, and analyze it. Forrester offers the example of a retailer who could use this method to encrypt a customer’s credit card number, and keep it to use for future transactions without fear, because it would never need to be decrypted.
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Image: iStockphoto/HYWARDS

3. Threat intelligence vendors clarify and target their services

A strong threat intelligence partner can help organizations avoid attacks and adjust security policies to address vulnerabilities. However, it can be difficult to cut through the marketing jargon used by these vendors to determine the value of the solution. At RSA 2017, Forrester noted that vendors are trying to improve their messaging to help customers distinguish between services. For example, companies including Digital Shadows, RiskIQ, and ZeroFOX have embraced the concept of “digital risk monitoring” as a complementary category to the massive “threat intelligence” market.

“This trend of vendors using more targeted, specific messaging to articulate their capabilities and value is in turn helping customers avoid selection frustrations and develop more comprehensive, and less redundant, capabilities,” the report stated. To find the best solution for your enterprise, you can start by developing a cybersecurity strategy based on your vertical, size, maturity, and other factors, so you can better assess what vendors offer and if they can meet your needs.

4. Implicit and behavioral authentication solutions help fight cyberattacks

A recent Forrester survey found that, of firms that experienced at least one breach from an external threat actor, 37% reported that stolen credentials were used as a means of attack. “Using password-based, legacy authentication methods is not only insecure and damaging to the employee experience, but it also places a heavy administrative burden (especially in large organizations) on S&R professionals,” the report stated.

Vendors have responded: Identity and access management solutions are incorporating a number of data sources, such as network forensic information, security analytics data, user store logs, and shared hacked account information, into their IAM policy enforcement solutions. Forrester also found that authentication solutions using things like device location, sensor data, and mouse and touchscreen movement to determine normal baseline behavior for users and devices, which are then used to detect anomalies.

Forrester recommends verifying vendors’ claims about automatic behavioral profile building, and asking the following questions:

  • Does the solution really detect behavioral anomalies?
  • Does the solution provide true interception and policy enforcement features?
  • Does the solution integrate with existing SIM and incident management solutions in the SOC?
  • How does the solution affect employee experience?

5. Algorithm wars heat up

Vendors at RSA 2017 latched onto terms such as machine learning, security analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) to solve enterprise security problems, Forrester noted. While these areas hold great promise, “current vendor product capabilities in these areas vary greatly,” the report stated. Therefore, it’s imperative for tech leaders to verify that vendor capabilities match their marketing messaging, to make sure that the solution you purchase can actually deliver results, Forrester said.

While machine learning and AI do have roles to play in security, they are not a silver bullet, Forrester noted. Security professionals should focus instead on finding vendors that solve problems you are dealing with, and have referenceable customers in your industry.

Source: http://globalbigdataconference.com/news/140973/iot-encryption-and-ai-lead-top-security-trends-for-2017.html

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