Generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) has opened up a vast new world of opportunities for organizations. The rate of technological innovation and advancement is unprecedented. While GenAI brings great excitement about its transformative potential, there are also some risks.
Immuta, a market leader in data security solutions, announced the findings of its fourth annual State of Data Security Report, revealing the impact of rapid AI growth on data security. The findings of the report highlight that while the adoption of AI tools is an important goal for organizations, there are concerns about the impact of AI on the larger data security strategy.
The 2024 State of Data Security Report was compiled by surveying 700 data platform and security professionals at cloud-based enterprises across the U.S., Canada, UK, and Australia. This included respondents from the private and public sectors.
The vast majority of data professionals (88 percent) shared that their organization is using AI, but 50 percent admit that the data security strategy at their organization is not keeping up with AI’s rapid rate of evolution. More than half of the data professionals (56 percent) say that their top concern with AI is exposing sensitive data through an AI prompt.
Only 20 percent of data professionals say that integrating AI into business processes will be a top priority for 2024. A higher number of respondents (35 percent) believe that data governance and security will be the top priority for organizations.
As the value of AI grows across organizations, there will be more stakeholders to manage. Data security is a responsibility that must be shouldered by everyone in the organization; it can no longer fall on one person or department. However, the report indicates a lack of clear ownership of data security across organizations.
The respondents say that the job title most commonly accountable for data security is Data Privacy or Security Manager (19 percent) and Chief Technology Officer (15 percent). This indicates a need for broader data ownership and collaboration to mitigate security risks.
Enabling secure data access remains a top priority for organizations, however, the security processes often slow down time-to-access and value. More than half (56 percent) of respondents agree that data security processes slow down access to data. A surprisingly high number of professionals (94 percent) are confident in their ability to respond to threats. These findings indicate a bit of overconfidence in the face of data access challenges.
“With the rapid onset of AI solutions and ongoing push to migrate data to the cloud, data leaders are now grappling with how to prioritize data security, agility, and visibility. They need solutions that provide both proper data protection and the flexibility to use data to drive value,” said Matt Carroll, CEO of Immuta. “Without the foundation of a strong data architecture and data security strategy in place, it will be impossible for organizations to safely integrate AI into their processes. Business leaders must design AI-specific security strategies that include the right protocols and policies to protect data.”
Data security budgets are expected to continue climbing, however, more than half (57 percent) of respondents say their tech and tools need improvement. When organizations decide to shift to newer technologies, such as implementing a data mesh system or shifting to the cloud, the time it takes from decision to production is too long. Data teams require tools and tech to keep up with the changes in data strategy.
Comparing the findings of the latest report to the 21 Impact Report, it is clear that the organization adopted the tools and tech they planned three years ago. However, there is a significant disconnect between planned adoption and the most commonly used platforms.
Looking ahead, the survey points to two top priorities for next year – (1) implementation of stronger data governance and security controls. and (2) modern data architecture. Organizations won’t be able to realize the full potential of AI technology unless they feel safe about implementing AI. The majority (88%) of data leaders believe that data security will become an even higher priority in the next 12 months.
The report recommends data leaders develop a long-term data strategy as soon as possible, ensure collaborative systems are in place, assess and address data access issues, and invest in the right data platforms rather than trying to juggle security, agility, and visibility on their own.