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As more enterprises rely on AI applications, cybersecurity becomes a top priority to ensure the safety and reliability of their daily operations. Knowledge of both risks and solutions associated with cybersecurity is still rare in many SMEs. European institutions need to take on a more active role on the matter, supporting SMEs in acquiring said knowledge and instruments.

As the Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) starts to take shape it is wise to take stock of previous pieces of EU regulation. As it stands, the proposed AI Act risks placing a disproportionate burden on small and micro enterprises, making compliance extremely challenging for them. SME-friendliness also means including SME representatives in discussions regarding standard-setting, thus avoiding a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

An updated AI Act that takes into account the above conditions can help:

  • Foster AI innovation
  • Ensure healthy competition
  • Bring investment to SME AI innovators
  • Strengthen the European AI ecosystem at large
  • Enhance the Union’s digital sovereignty
  • Help SMEs participate in regulatory sandboxes
  • Include SMEs as key stakeholders in all relevant discussions
  • Adapt fines and penalties to the capabilities of small-scale companies
  • Make sure the European AI Board is mindful of and supports SMEs
  • Ensure the liability of large AI technology developers

In its bid to secure a thriving AI ecosystem, the EU has to bear in mind the multitude of cybersecurity issues looming on the horizon. As AI solutions built by SMEs, such as business process automation (BPA), consumer behaviour prediction technologies, and advanced analytical solutions, become more common, AI-enhanced cybersecurity services and products will play a greater role in the economy.

The European Cyber Resilience Act highlights the need for:

  • Digital skills and education
  • Setting cybersecurity rules for digital products and services across the EU
  • A unified approach to cybersecurity product and service benchmarks
  • Boosted support for digital product and ancillary service security
  • Including additional cybersecurity requirements 
  • Focusing on addressing vulnerabilities in software products
  • Defending against hybrid forms of cyber-attacks and cyber-attacks in general
  • Bolstering the Union’s goal to become a leader in the cybersecurity space

For AI and other digital tools SMEs to diffuse, the entire ecosystem must be secured, from the entirety of the supply chain to the everyday operations by the end user. The cybersecurity sector should be a top legislative priority, if the Union seeks to ensure the continued growth of the digital economy.

Skills intelligence publication details

Target audience
Digital skills for the labour force.
Digital skills for ICT professionals and other digital experts.
Digital technology / specialisation
Digital skill level
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) not further defined
Computer use
Software and applications development and analysis
Geographical sphere
International initiative
Publication type
News article