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Machine Learning Cybersecurity Adoption in Small and Medium Enterprises in Developed Countries

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-03-15, 16:53 authored by Nisha Rawindaran, Ambikesh Jayal, Edmond PrakashEdmond Prakash
In many developed countries, the usage of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) has become important in paving the future path in how data is managed and secured in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector. SMEs in these developed countries have created their own cyber regimes around AI and ML. This knowledge is tested daily in how these countries’ SMEs run their businesses and identify threats and attacks, based on the support structure of the individual country. Based on recent changes to the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Brexit, and ISO standards requirements, machine learning cybersecurity (MLCS) adoption in the UK SME market has become prevalent and a good example to lean on, amongst other developed nations. Whilst MLCS has been successfully applied in many applications, including network intrusion detection systems (NIDs) worldwide, there is still a gap in the rate of adoption of MLCS techniques for UK SMEs. Other developed countries such as Spain and Australia also fall into this category, and similarities and differences to MLCS adoptions are discussed. Applications of how MLCS is applied within these SME industries are also explored. The paper investigates, using quantitative and qualitative methods, the challenges to adopting MLCS in the SME ecosystem, and how operations are managed to promote business growth. Much like security guards and policing in the real world, the virtual world is now calling on MLCS techniques to be embedded like secret service covert operations to protect data being distributed by the millions into cyberspace. This paper will use existing global research from multiple disciplines to identify gaps and opportunities for UK SME small business cyber security. This paper will also highlight barriers and reasons for low adoption rates of MLCS in SMEs and compare success stories of larger companies implementing MLCS. The methodology uses structured quantitative and qualitative survey questionnaires, distributed across an extensive participation pool directed to the SMEs’ management and technical and non-technical professionals using stratify methods. Based on the analysis and findings, this study reveals that from the primary data obtained, SMEs have the appropriate cybersecurity packages in place but are not fully aware of their potential. Secondary data collection was run in parallel to better understand how these barriers and challenges emerged, and why the rate of adoption of MLCS was very low. The paper draws the conclusion that help through government policies and processes coupled together with collaboration could minimize cyber threats in combatting hackers and malicious actors in trying to stay ahead of the game. These aspirations can be reached by ensuring that those involved have been well trained and understand the importance of communication when applying appropriate safety processes and procedures. This paper also highlights important funding gaps that could help raise cyber security awareness in the form of grants, subsidies, and financial assistance through various public sector policies and training. Lastly, SMEs’ lack of understanding of risks and impacts of cybercrime could lead to conflicting messages between cross-company IT and cybersecurity rules. Trying to find the right balance between this risk and impact, versus productivity impact and costs, could lead to UK SMES getting over these hurdles in this cyberspace in the quest for promoting the usage of MLCS. UK and Wales governments can use the research conducted in this paper to inform and adapt their policies to help UK SMEs become more secure from cyber-attacks and compare them to other developed countries also on the same future path.


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Rawindaran, Nisha, Ambikesh Jayal, and Edmond Prakash (2021) "Machine Learning Cybersecurity Adoption in Small and Medium Enterprises in Developed Countries" Computers 10, no. 11: 150.

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  • Cardiff School of Technologies

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Edmond Prakash

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