Protegrity, a global leader in data security, today shared its vision for the Secure AI Era, in which businesses and governments can harness the near limitless potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning while preserving every individual’s fundamental right to privacy. The promise of AI for modern businesses and society at large is almost immeasurable; however, companies and governments must treat the data that fuels AI initiatives as a quantifiable asset that has to be managed responsibly and secured with care.
According to Rick Farnell, President and CEO of Protegrity, “Artificial intelligence is undoubtedly the next frontier of innovation and will revolutionize the global economy. While AI is well-positioned to improve the lives of every individual on the planet, privacy concerns abound. To finally make the leap forward and realize the potential of AI, companies and governments alike must embrace a data-centric approach to privacy.”
When analyzed effectively and responsibly, data provides insight into how to improve business outcomes, refine customer experiences, drive new revenue channels, anticipate market trends, and open doors to internal efficiencies. However, while secure data is an enterprise’s most important and valuable asset, unprotected or “clear” data presents a major liability. Companies that mismanage their data and suffer a data breach face more than just a regulatory penalty, with potential consequences ranging from diminished customer experience to irreparable damage to brand loyalty and trust.
Data-centric Security Will Empower the Next Wave of AI Innovation
In 2011, Marc Andreessen boldly claimed that software was eating the world. In the decade that has since passed, companies in every market sector have not only been eaten by software, but devoured by it. As every company became a software company, the quantity of data collected by businesses skyrocketed. In fact, IDC predicts that 175 zettabytes (or 175 trillion gigabytes) of new data will be created around the world in 2025 alone. With such rich datasets, organizations are now seeking to extract as much value as possible for their businesses with advanced data analytics, AI, and machine learning initiatives. Soon, it will be AI that eats the world.
“Companies have succeeded in storing massive amounts of relational data, but traditional data-security methods have slowed businesses’ ability to leverage this data for AI purposes,” said Farnell. “For decades, security has been focused on perimeter defenses, such as stopping attackers from getting through networks, endpoints, and applications. Data security was considered to be a last-minute, check-box defense, which left significant gaps in security and impeded businesses’ ability to use datasets containing PII for analytics initiatives. Instead, organizations should begin with fine-grained, data-centric security to protect their data from the moment it is created throughout the entire data lifecycle. Only then will they be able to accelerate their use of secure data and embrace the next wave of AI innovation.”
Ethical and Unbiased AI Requires Privacy-Preserving Data Security
Ethics and fairness have to be considered in any AI model that uses sensitive data. However, many organizations are unaware that their models contain biases on gender, age, salary, residence, and other defining personal data. While companies can’t entirely rid their AI models of sensitive attributes that search for meaningful measurements, such as cost savings or revenue gains, they must establish a proper balance that prioritizes fairness. Privacy-preserving techniques – such as those that deliver differential privacy and k-anonymity – can guarantee privacy of an individual’s data while also reducing bias in machine learning algorithms.
AI models that are demonstrably more fair and free of bias will allow organizations to continue to realize the benefits of machine learning, without jeopardizing privacy, thus creating a level of trust between the AI algorithms and any individual whose personal data is held by the organization. This concept, known as algorithmic trust, was recently identified by the Gartner Inc. Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2020 report.1
Data Privacy Is a Fundamental Human Right
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, issued by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his [or her] privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his [or her] honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” However, much has changed from a societal and technological perspective since 1948, as the internet and digitization have come to prominence. While some governments have made significant strides towards data privacy, with new regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, there is still much work to be done to ensure data privacy for global citizens.
Consumers are keenly aware of the privacy threats they face on a daily basis. In fact, according to recent research, 87 percent of American consumers consider data privacy to be a human right. Furthermore, the study found that 91 percent of consumers believe corporations should take the lead in establishing corporate data responsibility. For companies to fully realize the benefits of the Secure AI Era, they must first find ways to become responsible caretakers of their customers’ sensitive information.
Rick Farnell concluded: “Protegrity exists to help businesses embrace secure AI by recognizing and unleashing the marketable value of their data – and to do so without exploiting the privacy of individuals and organizations. The collection, analysis, and distribution of data are only acceptable practices when that information is kept safe and not used for unauthorized purposes. Privacy solutions today must be human centric to protect the people’s data and enable organizations to be responsible data stewards.”
Announced in tandem with the company’s vision for the Secure AI Era, Protegrity today unveiled significant enhancements to the Protegrity Data Protection Platform, enabling businesses to quickly and safely turn sensitive data – wherever it resides – into intelligence-driven insights to deliver better customer experiences, monetize data responsibly, and support vital AI and machine learning initiatives. Protegrity also announced it has assembled a new leadership team to address the next frontier of data security as businesses prepare for the Secure AI Era.