A growing number of organisations rely on automation, machine learning and AI to keep their business secure against cyberattacks.

That is the result of an annual report from IT giant Cisco, which suggests cyber security professionals plan to invest more in tools which harness the power of AI and machine learning.

"Last year's evolution of malware demonstrates that our adversaries continue to learn," said John N. Stewart, Senior Vice President and Chief Security and Trust Officer, Cisco.

"We have to raise the bar now - top down leadership, business led, technology investments, and practice effective security - there is too much risk, and it is up to us to reduce it."

A more encrypted internet has created new challenges for businesses attempting to identify and monitor potential threats.

Whilst encryption is designed to enhance security, it also makes it more difficult for professionals to sort threats from legitimate traffic.

Cisco reports that encrypted web traffic rose to 50 per cent as of October 2017. AI and machine learning is used to help analyse this encrypted traffic and more quickly identify threats.

Some of the 3,600 chief information security officers (CISOs) interviewed for the report said they were reliant and eager to add tools like machine learning and AI, but were frustrated by the number of false positives that these systems can generate.

The report suggests that professionals overwhelmingly see value in behavioural analytics tools in locating attackers. 92 per cent of security professionals agreed that behaviour analytics tools are working to keep businesses safe.