Authored by: Charles Chow, Director of Systems Engineering, South East Asia, Korea, Taiwan & HK, Commvault
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the news screen almost daily, and its adoption and application have undergone incredible growth in recent years. The global AI market is forecasted to swell over 16 per cent in 2021 and is expected to break the US$500 billion mark in 2024, according to IDC. This growth is understandable as AI brings many benefits. In Singapore, the IBM Global AI Adoption Index 2021 indicated that nearly half of companies here quickened the roll-out of AI tools following the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
AI may just be the technology foundation for the future digital economy. Organisations across the public and private sectors have already gained much from it, especially in ultra-complex areas like automation, data analytics and digital assistance. However, AI can be a double-edged sword and organisations have much to consider.
AI and its applications
AI is machine-displayed intelligence that combines machine learning and deep learning techniques to simulate human thinking. AI can raise and process massive amount of data at great speed, far surpassing what humans are capable of. The foundation of AI is data, which it uses as a source to generate valuable insights.
AI relies on data to learn and ‘think’, and this is the very essence of how it helps drive business transformation. The benefits of AI can be realised across multiple industries like agriculture, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail. For instance, the technology is used in banks and retail shops to enhance customer experiences and fraud prevention. In robotics, AI processes data in real-time to sense obstacles in its path and pre-plan routes for autonomous robots used in factories and hospitals.
Putting data at risk
A key element that cannot be neglected when leveraging AI is the security of sensitive data. Data protection must be integral to the development of advanced AI systems for organisations to glean technological benefits without compromising data privacy.
Data is increasingly exposed as many emerging technologies, including AI, require large volumes of it to be transferred at high speed. It is critical that IT teams have solid data protection strategies in place with a clear understanding of their data protection contingencies as their organisations progress on their digitalisation journeys. As teams leverage data for AI applications, it is also crucial that they ensure that processes adhere to guidelines and regulations such as Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA).
This is particularly important now as many organisations adjust to a remote work model, as a distributed workforce means having more vectors open, greater data exposure and higher risk of data compromise.
AI as a ‘Data Guardian’
AI can be a formidable tool for data management and protection too when we look at the issue from a different perspective. AI processes can help identify patterns and, more importantly, identify the anomalies that occur in many organisation platform’s operations.
AI bots can be used to recognise, route and service privacy data, attending to requests faster and more accurately. This is similar to how we use AI chatbots like Alexa or Siri to manage complex requests today.
Additionally, AI can be used to manage data classification. As mentioned, AI can handle the identifying and classifying of data in a much more accurate and faster way than humans can. The technology is already being applied to the analysing of siloed data stores. Similarly, it can do well playing a role of ‘Data Guardian’ for privacy and compliance tasks as well as to manage and safeguard sensitive data.
The technology can be applied to eliminate malicious vectors, and it can perform especially well when guarding sensitive data that involves human data handlers or operators. AI can analyse large amount of data while simultaneously weeding out any malicious human intervention, leaving critical asset data secure.
AI can especially play a key data safeguarding role in the management of sensitive data, such as financial or healthcare records where we are dealing with data that is prone to misuse, cyberattacks and human errors.
In fact, AI is slowly gaining a reputation for its reliable management of sensitive data. Managing risk, fraud and cybersecurity threats is the top-ranked AI Applications for 2021, according to PwC 2021 AI Predictions.
AI as a ‘Data Wingman’
An area where AI is underutilised today is in data backup and recovery solutions. Backup usually encompasses critical and sensitive data, as well as applications that are essential to daily operations. Besides facilitating data protection and management, backup providers – with access to the full wealth of organisational data – can empower organisations with the ability to derive value-added insights for exceptional business innovation.
AI has hence been spotlighted by data and software management enterprises that are making significant investments in the field. Backup software and recovery tools are beginning to include AI and machine learning to predict possible data breaches, while simultaneously identifying other threats such as ransomware. Backup solutions today also utilise predictive analytics to enhance administrators’ efficiency and speed, while automating tasks that previously consumed valuable manpower.
While AI is a digital instrument with vast potential, the onus of using it responsibly lies with the organisation and its users. Protecting data is a foundation that must be established before we can reap the benefits of advanced AI technologies.
As we become increasingly reliant on AI, the only way to ensure its sustainability is to make AI usage secure and robust enough for daily operations. In tandem, organisations can also look to advisory structures like Singapore’s Model AI Governance Framework to minimise the risk of harm to critical systems from malfunction or misuse.
Will AI be your Data Wingman as you store, protect, optimise, and use your data, wherever it lives?