Trend Micro unpacks AI-centric cyber security strategy

Christopher Tredger
By Christopher Tredger, Portals editor
Johannesburg, 14 Jun 2024
Assad Arabi, regional MD for Africa and venture markets, Trend Micro.
Assad Arabi, regional MD for Africa and venture markets, Trend Micro.

Cyber security solutions firm Trend Micro, a frontrunner in extended detection and response (XDR), says employees are not waiting for the green light from management to dabble with AI and GenAI in the workplace, and businesses must establish policies to ensure good governance and the security of assets, especially data.

Trend Micro’s regional leadership asserts that the company has a competitive edge over other cyber security service providers because it offers comprehensive native XDR AI-based solutions for both on-premises and cloud environments, which it claims is unique in the South African market.

Speaking at the South African leg of the company’s partner- and customer-focused Risk to Resilience World Tour 2024 this week in Johannesburg, Assad Arabi, regional MD for Africa and venture markets, said Trend Micro is currently the only security service provider in South Africa with this capability.

He said many service providers focus mainly on AI in the cloud, but Trend Micro has a different approach.

“Our approach to AI comes across in two different silos – the first is AI for security, how Trend Micro uses AI to help security teams detect and protect in a better and faster way. The other silo is focused on organisations that use their own AI, either public or private, and what they need to do to protect this AI infrastructure.”

This approach ties in with the company’s objective to encourage the responsible use of AI as a weapon against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats.

Arabi used deepfakes as an example. These have become so sophisticated that even to the trained eye, they appear realistic. It is only by magnifying pixels in an image that one may discover a small anomaly, he explained.

The company asserts that its solution portfolio is comprehensive enough to help businesses of all sizes deflect increasingly sophisticated ransomware and phishing attacks, as well as business e-mail compromise.

According its research, in the first half of 2023, 63% of ransomware attacks were targeted at fund transfers and used to commit fraud. Phishing is also being used extensively to bypass security measures, said Arabi, with cyber criminals "compromising processes, not just networks”.

We are helping you to approach your senior management or boards and have a discussion at a level they understand.

Assad Arabi, Trend Mcro.

A key component of Trend Micro's strategy going forward is to operationalise zero trust. In practice, this means helping businesses to understand the attack surface, assess risk in realtime, and adjust policies across the network, workloads, and devices from a single console.

Arabi said the company has embedded machine learning as part of its XDR detection business for over five years. “We also use GenAI as part of our Vision One platform and we’ve added cyber security risk management.”

He added, “The AI for security silo is the culmination of two decades of work. Our focus is not only on cyber risks, but also the business risk. We are helping you to approach your senior management or boards and have a discussion at a level they understand, give them the information they need, and make it easy for you to communicate the message.”

Noting a high level of cyber security maturity within the South Acrican region, Arabi urged organisations to continuously monitor their cyber security posture, threat attacks paths and networks, and use AI to reinforce existing measures.

Leveraging industry partnerships

Arabi said the company will leverage its partnerships with Nvidia and Intel to protect more of the attack surface.

Trend Micro will integrate the Nvidia NIM inference microservices, part of the Nvidia AI Enterprise software platform, for GenAI development and deployment.

Nvidia defines inference microservices as a set of optimised cloud-native microservices designed to shorten time-to-market and simplify deployment of GenAI models.

Trend Micro has also partnered with Intel to roll out solutions leveraging AI PC to provide advanced protections from complicated attacks.