AICorner OfficeExpert Opinion

Is AI the Superpower You Need To Protect Your Data?


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for some time now but its growth and development have accelerated remarkably in the past few years, owing to a combination of advances in computer hardware, programming methods, distributed processing, and availability of data.

Simply put, AI is a collection of technologies that combine data, algorithms, and computing power to generate synergistic outcomes. AI has become a strategic priority for governments and private industry alike as it comes with a plethora of benefits. While AI serves as a foundation for the foreseeable future, there is another side to the coin, the risks related to AI that cannot be overlooked and, an important one is data privacy.

AI to the rescue

One critical element in AI advancement is security of sensitive data which is becoming more exposed than ever before because of everyday newer and faster technologies that enable data transfer at huge volumes and speed. Data protection must be considered central to the development process of advanced AI systems to balance technological benefits while also preserving privacy.

The 2019 Gartner Security and Risk Survey shows that over 40% of privacy compliance technology will rely on AI by 2023, up from 5% in 2019.

Speed, scale and automation are the key reasons why AI has become attractive for businesses and customers. The quantity of data that AI can raise is bigger than what human analysts are capable of and AI has also proven to be extremely efficient in processing big data in a reasonable time frame. One of the reasons why privacy is a big concern here is the fact that people are not familiar with the measures they can use to protect it even if there are some principles that can help with protecting ourselves.

With data being the lifeblood of the modern enterprise, having solid data protection strategies is not a choice anymore but a must have. Especially with laws like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and recently, India’s Personal Data Protection Bill, it’s more critical than ever for IT teams to have a clear understanding of the organizations’ backup and recovery plans especially in a remote working environment which renders multiple vectors open for data theft and exposing sensitive data.

Acing the use of AI to protect and manage Data

One way of acing the use of AI is by getting your data right. Data is the foundation of what the AI will produce as the end product, like the famous saying goes, AI is as good as the data it is fed. The second step to leveraging AI to the fullest is by application in three areas where it can optimize and increase efficiency in terms of data privacy and management:

AI Data Concierge: First, AI bots can provide a “data concierge” function in which they can recognize, route and service privacy data requests faster and more accurately, in the same way that other AI bots handle increasingly complex requests today, think Siri or Chat bots.

Data Classification: AI has already shown itself to be highly effective at identifying and classifying data that usually takes significant time and effort otherwise to review. We already see AI performing the role of central manager, and analyser of siloed data stores in other parts of the business and hence, AI as a ‘Data Guardian” is a natural fit for privacy and compliance tasks.

Managing Sensitive Data: Additionally, AI can successfully safeguard sensitive data and ensure data security by eliminating malicious vectors, especially the tasks that involve sensitive information that might be exposed to an operator. For instance, the integration of healthcare records always requires an additional layer of privacy to safeguard from any misuse.

AI has the ability of consuming and analysis large chunks of data and can simultaneously weed out any malicious human intervention which could range from possibility of misuse related to sensitive information like health records of patients, critical financial records of individuals to critical business related data. In turn leaving your critical asset- data- secure.

Advanced Data Backup and Recovery through AI

We usually don’t realize that adoption of AI and ML technologies can be utilized so well in backup and recovery solutions. Backups generally consist of sensitive corporate data and the majority of important applications. With complete access to the lifeblood of a company, backup providers not only facilitate corporations to manage and protect the data at hand, but also help them draw insights from the ‘data lakes’ to create and add value.

Data and software management enterprises are investing heavily in these technologies. Backup software and Recovery tools include AI and ML technologies to predict if and when a data breach can occur and also identify ransomware threats. Backup solutions today make use of technologies like predictive analytics that encompass IT solutions to make administrators faster and more effective at their jobs. Backup AI is finally beginning to automatically perform the tasks that earlier required human intelligence.

AI is just a digital tool, the likelihood of misuse of these tools lies with the users of these tools and not in the tools themselves. The onus of protecting privacy must be realized before we dive deep into the World of advanced AI technologies.

As the World becomes increasingly reliant on AI and machine intelligence, the only way to ensure future sustainability of AI tools is to make it secure and sturdy for the organizations that would depend on it for their daily business activities. Ultimately organisations will need data governance frameworks to minimize the risk of harm arising to critical systems from malfunctioning or misuse of intelligent machines. It’s time to get cracking.

 (The author is Pradeep Seshadri, Director, Sales Engineering, India and SAARC, Commvault)

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