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Survey Finds Data Governance and Security are Top Priorities for 2024, Ahead of AI

As AI adoption continues, implementing a data strategy with proper data access and governance is imperative to managing risk and unlocking essential value from data.

Note: TDWI's editors carefully choose press releases related to the data and analytics industry. We have edited and/or condensed this release to highlight key information but make no claims as to its accuracy.

Immuta, a data security leader, announced the findings of its fourth annual State of Data Security Report, which highlights the current state of data security amid organizations’ rapid adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI tools. The report, commissioned by Immuta and conducted by UserEvidence, surveyed 700 data platform and security practitioners at global cloud-based enterprise companies across the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.

The findings indicate that adoption and use of AI tools is high across organizations, but many are concerned about the impacts AI will have on their larger data security strategy. Only half of respondents say their organization’s data security strategy is keeping up with AI’s rate of evolution.

What’s more, despite AI’s recent boom, implementing stronger data governance and security controls will be a higher priority for data teams in 2024. When asked what significant initiatives their company is taking on in the next 12 months, 80% of respondents said their top priorities were data security-related initiatives, such as implementing stronger data governance and security controls, and modernizing data architectures with new concepts such as data mesh; only 20% said integrating AI into business processes will be a top priority. 

Artificial Intelligence Sparks Excitement and Security Risks for Data Professionals

The rapid evolution of AI and machine learning (ML) has spurred both excitement and concern across organizations. According to the report, employees are already leveraging these tools to increase productivity and streamline processes within their roles. Nearly nine out of 10 (88%) data professionals note their employees are using AI, and many data professionals are confident AI will help them become better at tasks such as anomaly detection (44%) and phishing attack identification (46%). 

At the same time, many are concerned about the broader security impacts AI will have on their organization. More than half of respondents (56%) cite the exposure of sensitive data via an AI prompt as their greatest area of concern. This trepidation reinforces the need for AI-specific security strategies and policies so organizations can confidently and securely utilize the technologies and also launch AI models at scale.

Data Governance and Compliance Are Top Priorities

Although AI is top of mind for data professionals across every sector, trust, security, and compliance are still leading organizational priorities. Nearly all (88%) data leaders believe that data security will become an even higher priority in the next 12 months, ahead of AI. With 80% of data professionals indicating that their data protection capabilities are better than they were a year ago, it's likely budgets and resources will increase as data security continues to be a growing priority for business leaders amid today’s evolving threat landscape. 

Collaboration Is a Vital Element of Data Security

As organizations grow, their structures become more intricate and they manage more data, both of which make data security increasingly challenging and critical. This also creates more complexity around data ownership. According to the report, there is no clear owner of data security across organizations. Respondents indicated that the job title most commonly accountable for data security is data privacy or security manager (19%), or chief technology officer (15%). However, numerous other roles were also noted as being responsible for data security. This lack of ownership creates challenges around managing security collaboratively, which leads to teams operating in silos and insecure deployments.

Data Access Is Still a Major Security Challenge

Similar to findings from last year’s report, which found that 63% of data professionals lacked visibility into data access controls, data access remains a major security obstacle for teams: 33% of respondents cited a lack of visibility into data sharing and usage as their biggest security challenge, and that they have missed business opportunities as a result.

Similarly, 56% note that data security processes slow down access to data, meaning that over half of organizations are sacrificing some level of data-driven value for essential security outcomes -- trading agility for trust and compliance.

To read the full 2024 State of Data Security Report, click here. No registration is required.

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