Monday, April 22, 2024

AI use leads to new risks for data security

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According to a new study, 89 percent of cybersecurity professionals agree that their company’s sensitive data is increasingly vulnerable to new AI technologies.

The study of 700 respondents across cybersecurity roles, conducted by Vanson Bourne for Code42, also finds that 87 percent are concerned their employees may inadvertently expose sensitive data to competitors by inputting it into GenAI. In addition 87 percent are concerned their employees are not following their GenAI policy.

Since 2021, there has been a 28 percent average increase in monthly insider-driven data exposure, loss, leak, and theft events. The majority of respondents (85 percent) expect this trend to continue over the next 12 months. While most companies (99 percent) have data protection solutions in place, 78 percent of cybersecurity leaders admit they’ve still had sensitive data breached, leaked, or exposed.

As today’s risks are increasingly driven by AI and GenAI, the way employees work, and the proliferation of cloud applications, respondents say they need more visibility into source code sent to repositories (88 percent), files sent to personal cloud accounts (87 percent), and customer relationship management (CRM) system data downloads (90 percent).

“Today, data is highly portable. While AI and cloud technologies are igniting new business ventures that allow employees to connect, create, and collaborate, they also make it easier to leak critical corporate data like source code and IP,” says Joe Payne, president and CEO of Code42. “This year, the research highlights the new challenges posed by AI as data sets are being pushed outside of organizations to train LLMs. We also see that source code is now considered the most important data to protect, other than financial information and research data. This is a critical finding, as most data protection tools are incapable of spotting the most common source code exfiltration techniques.”

Respondents also believe senior management (81 percent) and board members (71 percent) pose the greatest risk to their company’s data security, likely because they have wide-reaching access to the most sensitive data.

The skills shortage isn’t helping either, 79 percent of respondents believe their cybersecurity team has a shortage of skilled workers, leading cybersecurity leaders to turn to AI (83 percent) and GenAI (92 percent) technology to fill the talent gap. But these aren’t a 1:1 replacement, and the report also cautions against the possible data loss risks of these tools.

You can download the full Data Exposure Report 2024 from the Code42 site.

Photo Credit: Pixelbliss/Shutterstock

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