Investing in AI and Cyber: How Leaders Can Find the Sweet Spot for Maximum ROI

By Marco Ryan, Associate Director at Templar Executives and
28th June 2024

This blog post is by Marco Ryan, an Associate Director at Templar Executives and a Cyber Leader in Residence at Lancaster University Management School. Marco also teaches on the renowned Cyber Executive MBA delivered by Lancaster University in partnership with Templar Executives. Marco has been at the forefront of leading digital innovation, AI and Cyber Security at some of the largest companies in the world, and is committed to empowering organisations with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the digital future.

The UK AI market is currently worth more than £16.8 billion, and is expected to grow to £801.6 billion by 2035. In today’s digital age, investing in AI and Cyber Security isn’t just a smart move—it’s a strategic imperative. According to a recent article by Forbes, 68% of large companies, 33% of medium-sized companies and 15% of small companies have incorporated at least one AI technology. However, finding the optimal investment level is a complex challenge that keeps many leaders awake at night.

When it comes to allocating resources, leaders must juggle multiple critical factors against the backdrop of rapid technological advancements and ever-evolving threats. They need to understand the current threat landscape, assess their organisation’s risk profile, ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, evaluate their technological maturity and work within available budget constraints. It’s a delicate balancing act that requires careful consideration and strategic thinking.

Potential Returns on Investment

A 2024 report by CNBC highlighted that 60% of companies described generative AI as critically important to their business, and is the single largest technology spending budget line item for the next year at 44% of companies. This highlights the increasing importance of AI, particularly within Cyber Security budgets, and the need for strategic investment in areas that can provide the most significant impact. It also emphasises the importance of being able to track the returns generated.

To invest strategically, it is important for Boards to understand what kind of opportunities AI can bring to their organisation. Forbes Adviser surveyed 600 companies to find the areas of greatest AI benefit, and found that:

  • Over half of business owners use Artificial Intelligence for Cyber Security and fraud management
  • 97% believe ChatGPT will help their business: one in three businesses plan to use ChatGPT to write website content, while 44% plan to use ChatGPT to write content in other languages.
  • 46% use AI to craft internal communications
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) believe AI will improve customer relationships.

Long Term Return on Investment

The long-term benefits of strategic AI and Cyber Security investments are wide-ranging, and the CompTIA IT Industry Outlook 2024 highlights some of the positive benefits, such as improved operational efficiency, enhanced customer trust and loyalty, reduced downtime and competitive advantages through improved data protection. Moreover, these investments can increase an organisation’s ability to innovate and adopt new technologies safely.

Developing a comprehensive AI and Cyber Security investment strategy is crucial for maximising ROI in the short and long term. This approach ensures that investments not only enhance security, but also support broader organisational goals, creating a synergy between security measures and business growth. To navigate this complexity, it is important to get the right support and guidance as early as possible.

If you would like to hear more, contact us at Alternatively, join us at our annual Cyber Leadership Symposium, where we will be exploring AI and Cyber Security, along with cutting edge industry perspectives.

Templar Executives and Lancaster University invite you to attend our third annual international Symposium on Cyber Security Leadership to be held at Lancaster University on 18th and 19th September 2024.

Hosted by Templar Executives and Lancaster University, this two-day Symposium is a unique opportunity to share thought leadership perspectives and network with like-minded professionals. Whether you’re seeking progress in your career or are a seasoned Cyber leader, this event is tailored for you.