What could go wrong with generative AI as shadow IT?
Before we dive into what’s happening right now in global enterprises regarding the use of generative AI tools, we need to take a short detour to address the question: what are the problems with shadow IT?
There are dozens of great studies showing the dangers that come with shadow IT. A few of the concerns include decreased control over sensitive data, an increased attack surface, risk of data loss, compliance issues, and inefficient data analysis.
Yes, there are many other security, privacy, and legal issues that can surface with shadow IT. But what concerns me the most is the astonishing growth in generative AI apps — along with how fast these apps are being adopted for a myriad of reasons. Indeed, if the internet can best be described as an accelerator for both good and evil — which I believe is true — generative AI is supercharging that acceleration in both directions.
Many are saying that the adoption of generative AI apps is best compared to the early days of the internet, with the potential for unparalleled global growth. What is clear right now is that companies that offer AI opportunities are receiving the most attention and accelerating adoption. Beyond ChatGPT’s record-breaking climb to 100 million users, along with 1.6 billion visits to the website in June 2023, I suspect studies will come out later this year showing rapid generative AI adoption growth across many companies, unlike anything we have ever seen before. We are talking about real game-changers.
IT leaders have genuine concerns about generative AI and security
It is clear to me that executives are now thinking more about this issue (as compared to six months ago) and the implications for their data. Concerns are growing regarding the use of free generative AI tools that may also bring licensing, copyright, legal, intellectual property, misinformation, and other concerns.
The overall challenge of managing end-user behavior is not new. Security and technology leaders have been trying to enable and support enterprise end users for decades while managing and securing data. But in a seemly never-ending tug-of-war over control regarding who sees what data, when and how, ChatGPT and other generative AI apps offer compelling new reasons to move beyond enterprise-authorized applications for completing business tasks.