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The importance of responsible AI use in data discovery

AI systems can’t function without adequate data – but how do you make sure it’s used safely? Learn more about how the responsible use of AI can impact your data discovery processes

February 14, 2024

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We’re living in a world driven increasingly by data. Organizations large and small are gathering customer and industry data from a variety of sources, analyzing it for trends and patterns, and then using it to identify new market opportunities, optimize sales strategies, and improve the customer experience. This process is known as data discovery.

Artificial intelligence (AI) tools have transformed what’s possible in data discovery, and every enterprise is looking for ways to use it that will create quick and profitable business opportunities. However, AI also presents potential risks to organizations. 

Privacy and security professionals in particular are concerned about the responsible use of AI in data discovery, especially as it relates to protecting customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) and financial data, complying with data privacy and security regulations, and creating unbiased data sets.

Watch the webinar to learn more about data discovery: Data Discovery Dispelled: Part 1 – Data’s dark corners

 

What AI use in data discovery means for privacy professionals

Your company’s use of AI tools can enable privacy professionals to work more efficiently, but it can also keep them up at night. 

AI tools can automate manual privacy-related tasks such as data classification, monitoring, and compliance assessments, which allows privacy professionals to focus on more strategic aspects of their jobs. AI can also analyze vast amounts of data quickly and accurately to look for privacy violations or predict potential privacy risks by analyzing historical data and patterns.

AI tools, however, can also cause concerns for privacy professionals. Consider the following examples:

 

Data collection and use

AI systems are typically trained on large data sets of “anonymized” personal data. Privacy professionals worry, however, that their company may be collecting data without individuals’ knowledge or consent, using data that individuals have not provided consent for, or simply collecting far more data than the company needs.  

 

Transparency and accountability

AI systems are extremely complex, which makes it difficult to understand how they work and how they make decisions. This characteristic makes it challenging for privacy professionals to ensure that AI tools are operating in a privacy-compliant manner. 

As governments and other regulatory bodies deliver more and more privacy legislation, compliance with applicable privacy laws and regulations is essential. So, privacy professionals stress the importance of transparency as a critical feature of responsible use of AI in data discovery.

 

Bias and potential discrimination

If the data being used to train AI algorithms is biased toward certain groups of people, the AI algorithm may well reflect that bias, which can effectively perpetuate existing biases against women, minorities, LGBTQ populations, or other marginalized groups. Privacy professionals worry that companies are not taking adequate steps to mitigate bias in their AI tools.

 

"Implementing OneTrust has accelerated our team's efficiency, cutting down our process time by 80% and reducing vendor onboarding to an average of 17 days. This efficiency has led to significant time savings, optimized resource utilization, and smoother operations."

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Blake Brannon, Chief Product & Strategy Officer

 

What AI use means for security professionals

A company’s use of AI tools also generates benefits and concerns for security professionals.

Your number one job as security professionals is to protect your company’s networks against cyberattacks, both inside and outside the company. AI tools can analyze network traffic and identify patterns indicative of potential cyberattacks, including insider threats. AI-powered antivirus tools can also identify and quarantine malicious software more effectively.

AI tools, however, can also generate concerns for security professionals, including the following:

 

Data security

AI systems store and process large data sets, which makes them attractive to cybercriminals. Security professionals must protect this data from unauthorized access, breaches, or theft. The complexity of AI systems can make it difficult for security professionals to identify and fix vulnerabilities. Security professionals can also protect company data by limiting how much access employees have to sensitive data that could potentially be used to train AI systems.

 

Adversarial attacks

AI systems can be vulnerable to adversarial attacks where malicious actors manipulate input data to deceive the system. Security professionals need to implement defenses against such attacks, which could be particularly damaging in critical applications such as cyber security or autonomous vehicles.

 

Integration challenges

Integrating AI tools with existing systems and processes can also create security vulnerabilities if not done properly. In a process called fine-tuning, for example, a company might receive a ChatGPT-like model from an AI vendor and then train it further using sensitive company data. If used internally, the model poses no security risk, but that model could inadvertently “spill” sensitive data if used in an external application.

 

How to use AI responsibly in data discovery

Increasingly, privacy and security teams are developing tools and strategies to address the concerns outlined in the previous section. Here are some practical steps your company can take to ensure the responsible use of AI:

  • Be strategic about the governance of your data discovery system.
    Develop a clear data governance framework to ensure that AI is used responsibly and ethically. This framework should include policies and procedures for data collection, storage, use, and sharing.

  • Seek to use unbiased, high-quality data.
    AI systems are only as good as the data they’re trained on. Try to identify and address biases in your training data that could lead to unfair or discriminatory outcomes. Another way to head off bias is to encourage diverse teams to design, develop, and test AI algorithms.

  • Be transparent about AI use.
    Be transparent about your company’s use of AI, including its purpose, the types of data that are being collected and used, and the potential risks and benefits of AI use. Transparency will help to build trust with your users and stakeholders. OneTrust’s AI Governance solution can help you build this transparency across your organization where appropriate.

  • Protect user privacy and security.
    Take steps to protect the privacy and security of users' data when using AI systems by limiting the collection and use of personal data. Ensure compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR in Europe. Also, avoid training AI algorithms on data that’s been tagged “do not train.” This measure will prevent the use of data that requires consent or is prohibited from being used in machine-learning scenarios. 

  • Use AI to augment, not replace, human capabilities.
    AI systems are a great tool, but they can make mistakes. And they should not be used to make decisions without human oversight. Help your company develop clear processes for reviewing and approving AI-generated decisions. 

  • Be accountable for the outcomes of your AI data discovery systems.
    Your company should be able to explain how its AI algorithms make decisions, particularly when dealing with sensitive data, and take responsibility for the outcomes of those decisions.

  • Monitor AI systems regularly.
    Monitor your AI systems to ensure that they’re performing as expected. Remain vigilant against bias, discrimination, and other problems. A tool like OneTrust’s AI Governance can help you streamline and automate this process, so you can fulfill your monitoring obligations without someone needing to do it manually.  

To learn more about how your company can integrate AI tools responsibly into your data discovery processes, check out our OneTrust Data Discovery & Security tool today.


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