Zscaler’s 2024 report examines AI use & rising security risks – IT Brief Australia

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Zscaler, the cloud security company, has published its 2024 AI Security Report. This report analyzes how enterprises are engaging with AI and ML tools and highlights important trends in Healthcare, Finance, Government, Manufacturing, and Education.

There are differing AI adoption trends across the globe, determined by regulatory needs, technology infrastructure, and cultural norms. A critical issue identified in the report relates to the potential, and often accidental, leakage of sensitive and confidential data through the use of AI tools. This has become increasingly apparent over the past year with numerous accidental data breaches of AI training data.

Unfazed by these concerns, AI transactions are rapidly rising. The US is leading the way, generating 40.9% of AI transactions. Interestingly, the APAC region had 1.3 billion more AI transactions than EMEA did, with India emerging as a primary generator of AI transactions at 48.3% within the APAC region and Australia accounting for 10%.

The Zscaler report revealed that enterprise use of AI/ML tools had risen by nearly 600% over the last year, putting businesses at risk. The study, based on the examination of more than 18 billion AI transactions via the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange cloud security platform, showed how enterprises from various sectors and regions are adapting to the dynamic AI landscape and managing security around the use of AI tools.

Between the periods of April 2023 and January 2024, enterprise AI/ML transactions increased from 521 million monthly to 3.1 billion. Manufacturing led the way generating the highest AI traffic at 21% of all AI transactions. Following closely were Finance and Insurance at 20% and Services at 17%. Notably, the most popular AI/ML applications for enterprises were ChatGPT, Drift, OpenAI, Writer, and LivePerson.

The report showed that AI has become regularly integrated into businesses, with the volume of transactions and data generated multiplying. This is signified by the almost 600% increase in transactions as well as the 569 terabytes of enterprise data sent to AI tools that were analysed from September 2023 to January 2024.

Deepen Desai, Chief Security Officer at Zscaler, emphasised, “Data is the lifeblood of every enterprise and the gold of this new era in the AI revolution.” He further proclaimed that with the visibility garnered from the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange’s nearly 500 trillion daily signals, the company is singularly set to “fight AI with AI and improve Zero Trust security across the enterprise.”

However, while AI is proving to be a powerful tool for innovation and efficiency, it brings with it a new set of risks that organisations must manage. Particularly challenges associated with using GenAI tools within the enterprise and an evolving landscape of AI-assisted threats. Ultimately, enterprises must navigate this fast-changing AI landscape to harness its potential while mitigating the risks and defending against AI-powered attacks.

Zscaler is aiding enterprises in secure AI adoption by offering a suite of tools that gives visibility into AI tool usage, enables granular access policy creation for AI, provides granular data security for AI applications, and offers powerful controls with browser isolation.

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