AI is the hottest topic in cybersecurity and seemingly every industry. It’s easy to find article after article after article describing the benefits of AI to cybersecurity professionals. But the reality is far more nuanced. Enter human-in-the-loop cybersecurity (HITL), an approach that’s revolutionizing how we protect digital assets.

This innovative method combines the speed and efficiency of AI with the irreplaceable insight of human experts. It’s an obvious choice for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) looking to enhance their security offerings without breaking the bank or hiring an army of in-house experts.

In this article, we’ll explore what human-in-the-loop cybersecurity is, why it matters, and how it’s addressing modern cybersecurity challenges. We’ll also look at how MSPs can implement this approach and what the future holds for this exciting field.

What is Human-in-the-Loop Cybersecurity?

Human-in-the-loop cybersecurity combines the power of artificial intelligence (AI) with human know-how. In this approach, people play an active role in AI-driven security systems.

Unlike fully automated systems, human-in-the-loop cybersecurity brings in human judgment at key points. This allows for smarter decisions, especially when dealing with tricky or new threats.

As Michael Noory, CYDEF’s Lead Threat Hunter, shared, “As convenient as 100% AI-driven security might sound to an IT team, these systems are just not at the point where they can reliably catch all threats.”

A quote from CYDEF's Lead Threat Hunter Michael Noory on the benefits of combining human and AI oversight in cybersecurity.

The mix of AI and human expertise is crucial in HITL cybersecurity:

  • AI does the heavy lifting by processing data and spotting initial threats
  • Human experts step in to analyze odd findings and make final calls
  • This teamwork helps MSPs leverage their security operations efficiently

It’s important to note that HITL differs from human-on-the-loop (HOTL) approaches. In HOTL, people mainly watch over the AI’s work. But in HITL, experts are actively involved throughout the process, leading to more accurate and flexible threat detection.

Benefits and Challenges Addressed by Human-in-the-Loop Cybersecurity

Human-in-the-loop cybersecurity offers several key benefits that make it a game-changer for MSPs:

Enhanced Accuracy in Threat Detection

By combining AI’s speed with human insight, this approach catches more real threats and reduces false alarms. Human experts can:

  • Recognize patterns that AI might miss
  • Understand the context of unusual activities
  • Make judgment calls on potential threats

As Noory shared, “While neither AI nor human expertise can guarantee a perfect defense, the optimal security setup leverages both so that when one falters, the other is there to pick up the slack.”

A quote from CYDEF's Lead Threat Hunter Michael Noory on the benefits of combining human and AI oversight in cybersecurity.

Reduction of False Positives

One of the biggest headaches in cybersecurity is dealing with false positives – alerts that look like threats but aren’t. A survey of cybersecurity professionals found that between 20 and 40% of alerts are false positives. HITL systems tackle this problem by:

There simply aren’t enough trained cybersecurity professionals to go around. HITL systems allow a smaller number of experts to:

  • Oversee a larger number of systems
  • Focus on high-level analysis rather than routine tasks
  • Share their expertise across multiple clients

Adapting to Evolving Threats

Attackers are constantly developing new methods. HITL systems are built to adapt by combining:

  • AI’s ability to quickly process new data
  • Human experts’ ability to recognize new patterns
  • Continuous learning from both AI and human inputs

This flexible approach helps MSPs stay ahead of emerging threats, offering clients protection that evolves as fast as the threat landscape.

Implementing Human-in-the-Loop Cybersecurity in MSP Operations

Bringing HITL cybersecurity into your MSP operations might sound challenging, but partnering with a specialized provider can make it seamless and efficient. This approach allows you to quickly enhance your security offerings without building an in-house solution from scratch.

Integration with your current security stack is typically straightforward when working with a specialized partner. These solutions are designed to complement your existing tools by:

  • Gathering data from various sources you already use
  • Providing a unified interface for analysis
  • Enhancing the capabilities of your current security measures

One of the biggest advantages of partnering for HITL systems is instant scalability. As your client base grows, you don’t need to worry about hiring new staff or expanding your infrastructure. The partner’s AI handles the bulk of initial threat detection, while their human experts focus on complex cases and decision-making.

Adding HITL cybersecurity through a partnership can broaden your service offerings and significantly increase your average revenue per client. It allows you to provide enterprise-level security to clients of all sizes almost immediately, offering:

  • More accurate threat detection
  • Faster response times
  • Customized security insights

These enhanced services can set you apart in a crowded market, attracting new clients and retaining existing ones. It’s a powerful way to increase your value proposition and grow your business without the long lead time of developing an in-house solution.

The Future of Human-in-the-Loop Cybersecurity

Looking ahead, it’s clear that human-in-the-loop (HITL) cybersecurity will shape how we protect digital assets. Experts from different fields agree that combining human smarts with AI power is the way to go.

The World Economic Forum says AI will change how big organizations keep their systems safe. They think AI will get better at spotting odd things, figuring out which threats matter most, and judging risks. But they also say humans need to stay in charge:

“It is essential that AI assist human decision-making, not dictate it… Keeping a human in the loop represents a best-of-breed opportunity.”

A quote from the World Economic Forum on the future of Human-In-The-Loop Cybersecurity

Security Magazine agrees and talks about how HITL is growing into something called Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF). They say:

“Systems that efficiently incorporate RLHF from the start will be the ones that will win. By learning from human input, these systems will get smarter faster than systems that don’t.”

In the future, we can expect:

  1. Easier ways for humans and AI to work together
  2. AI that can explain why it makes certain choices
  3. New tools to help us see complex threats more clearly
  4. AI that can guess when attacks might happen
  5. Real-time info about threats that makes sense in context

For MSPs, this means you’ll be able to offer security services that stop threats before they become problems. As AI handles more day-to-day tasks, human experts will focus on big-picture planning, solving tricky problems, and building strong client relationships.

Of course, humans still need to keep an eye on things, especially when it comes to security. The winners in this space will be MSPs that partner with organizations who have figured out the right mix of AI help and human know-how to keep systems safe and working well.


Human-in-the-loop cybersecurity represents a significant leap forward in protecting digital assets. By combining the speed and efficiency of AI with the insight and adaptability of human experts, this approach offers a powerful solution to the challenges faced by modern MSPs.

Let’s recap the key takeaways:

  • Human-in-the-loop cybersecurity enhances threat detection accuracy and reduces false positives.
  • It addresses the limitations of purely automated systems and helps bridge the cybersecurity skills gap.
  • Implementing this approach through partnership allows MSPs to quickly scale their security offerings without massive investment.
  • The future of cybersecurity lies in even closer collaboration between AI and human experts.

For MSPs looking to stay ahead in a competitive market, human-in-the-loop cybersecurity offers a way to provide top-tier protection to clients of all sizes. It’s an opportunity to expand your service offerings, increase your value proposition, and position yourself as a leader in the field.

If you’re considering adding advanced cybersecurity capabilities like EDR/MDR to your portfolio, now is the time to act. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Take the first step towards enhancing your cybersecurity offerings today by signing up for a FREE 30-day trial of CYDEF at Experience firsthand how human-in-the-loop cybersecurity can transform your MSP operations and set you apart in the market.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Human-in-the-Loop Cybersecurity?

Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) Cybersecurity involves the integration of human expertise in tandem with automated security systems to enhance threat detection and response efforts.

Why is HITL important in cybersecurity?

HITL is crucial as it addresses the limitations of automated solutions by adding the nuanced insights and decision-making capabilities of human experts, leading to more effective threat mitigation.

What are the key components of HITL cybersecurity?

Key components include human expertise to analyze and interpret security threats and automated systems that provide rapid data processing and preliminary threat identification.

How is HITL cybersecurity applied in the real world?

HITL cybersecurity is applied in various scenarios including incident response, where human experts direct automated systems to act on complex threats, and in regular threat monitoring to ensure enhanced security posture.