The technology landscape has evolved significantly over the last year with the introduction of technologies such as ChatGPT and other generative AI tools taking the market by storm, while raising concerns about data security and more.  As we move forward into 2024, we anticipate that the impact these new technologies have made this year means they will continue to pave the way forward, with AI remaining a hot topic in the industry, while data security concerns rise around it.

Transparency

While data is considered the new oil, customers are going to expect more transparency from companies in terms of what they are doing with the data. Similar to Heinz Ketchup, which became a leading brand when it introduced a transparent bottle that allowed customers to truly see what was inside it, customers are going to expect a level of transparency from businesses when it comes to data.

Currently, companies are being forced to share details of what they are doing with customer data, and we expect to see more privacy regulations coming into effect to protect citizen data further. At the same time, we anticipate that companies will start to explore options for international data hubs that have been designed to meet stringent privacy laws to keep customer data safe.

Fragmented AI

There has been an impressive uptake in AI by businesses over the past year and, thanks to the likes of ChatGPT, many consumers today are using it as well. We expect to see the adoption of AI continue to grow in the year ahead. However, AI is currently quite fragmented and complicated, and we expect to see this changing in a similar way to cloud computing, starting out fragmented and simplifying over time.

A big issue for AI is the skills shortage. While the overall technology industry is facing a skills shortage, there is a major shortage of AI experts and talent in the industry. There will not be a quick fix, and this will hamper development in the AI space. At the same time, businesses are likely to experience the trough of disillusionment with AI and GenAI as companies grapple with the technology without realising its full potential.

Analysing and protecting data

Businesses are realising the value of analysing data, which has been made easier to extract with the help of AI. As such, companies will continue to invest in this technology and those that haven’t will be playing catch up. However, AI presents a challenge, in that privacy could be easily compromised as anyone with access to GenAI could extract the data too.

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As such, companies will need to consider how they protect data from being accessed and used by unauthorised individuals, while at the same time giving those who need the data the required access.

Companies are coming to realise the value of protecting data with solutions such as tokenisation, which keeps information segmented while giving access to the specific data that business units or individuals need to perform their jobs. In doing this, they are able to protect the most valuable data and minimise the risk of unauthorised users accessing data they shouldn’t.

With data breaches only set to rise in 2024 and beyond, this is of the utmost importance.

Disinformation and the impact of AI

While businesses are adopting AI with caution, attackers are adopting and using these technologies much faster and collaborating together to weaponise AI. This is where we are likely to see the biggest development taking place. As such, 2024 is likely to bring about breaches led by GenAI techniques either in the form of phishing emails, videos, doctored videos and images or even all of these combined.

At the same time, a clever use of data manipulation could damage data models, allowing for inaccurate predictions that could have a massive impact on a business or government entity. This data poisoning, which involves tampering with Machine Learning (ML) training techniques to produce undesirable outcomes, is going to be a growing concern for organisations that have a lot of data, as the more data you have the more likely it is that there could be bad data contained within it. This is another reason why companies will be turning to data protection tools to aid in data security.

Data, data everywhere

The pandemic might be behind us, but it changed the way we work forever. The gig economy has grown significantly, and this is likely to have some implications for business going forward, as skilled workers sell their time and access company data wherever they are, which will continue to impact the way in which we work.

Already innovation in hybrid work environments and being able to access whatever data and tools you need from wherever you are, has great appeal for many workers and they are unlikely to want to work for an organisation that does not at least offer a hybrid option.

From a data perspective, this accentuates the need for it to be protected and for companies to implement solutions that meet regulation requirements across various territories to remain compliant, keeping commitments to secure customer and employee data and ensuring you have happy employees.

In addition to meeting customer expectations for data security and privacy or risk the chance of losing them, more and more companies will be investing in meeting compliance standards, while others will be fined for non-compliance to regulation standards such as PCI and DORA.

Data is going to either make or break businesses in 2024. As technologies continue to evolve, people will demand their data is secure and, as threat actors become more relentless, organisations will have to continue to go beyond the regulations and checkboxes to keep data secure. They will need to bring data security to the boardroom table, making it a key topic for discussion that focuses on data use and the protection of it for the best interest of their customers, employees and their business.

Nathan Vega is vice president of product marketing and strategy at Protegrity