AI Risks and How to Mitigate them

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has marked a new chapter in business innovation. By 2026, more than 80% of enterprises will have used generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) application programming interfaces (APIs) or models, and/or deployed GenAI-enabled applications in production environments, up from less than 5% in 2023, according to Gartner, Inc.  

Beyond productivity, the economic potential of AI is also significant; a report by McKinsey estimates that AI could generate the equivalent of $4.4 trillion annually to the global economy by 2030.  

Microsoft Copilot specifically has impact across various industries aiming for productivity improvement: In the healthcare field for example Copilot can efficiently organize and analyze patient data, aiding in quicker diagnosis and personalized treatment plans. It also can handle scheduling appointments, sending patient reminders, and optimizing healthcare providers’ schedules and lastly, Copilot can be used for in-depth medical research, analyzing vast datasets to uncover trends and insights in patient care and treatment.

Gen AI tools are transforming the way we work, making tasks easier and more efficient. AI is making the digital workplace smarter and more productive. But there is a catch. While AI brings many benefits, it also comes with risks.

Identifying the risks of generative AI  

In the 2023 Gartner Microsoft 365 Survey, 60% of respondents stated that oversharing, data loss and content sprawl were among the biggest risks to their Microsoft 365 deployment.

· Data Oversharing: The main question all organizations using generative AI must ask themselves is whether their data remains safe from inappropriate disclosure and use when employing gen AI tools. It is common practice to use tools like Microsoft’s Copilot by providing some data to the tool and waiting for an answer. But let’s take a step back. How sure are we about the safety of the data we provide, and where do we draw the line when sharing?  Data oversharing is the most common risk gen AI users face: There is a chance that we are oversharing data that external parties or tools shouldn't have access to. During the GTP Client Webinar, entitled Improve Information Governance to Manage Microsoft 365 Copilot Risks, 72% of the attendees answered that oversharing/exposing sensitive information to employees is the biggest risk with deploying M365 Copilot.

· Data Sprawl: refers to the uncontrolled spread of data across various systems. In a digital workplace, this can happen when multiple AI tools are used to create, modify, and store data without a centralized management strategy. As a result, data can become scattered, making it difficult to track, manage, and, lastly, secure. Generative AI tools like Copilot create a large volume of data by generating documents, emails, code, and other digital assets. Without proper governance, this data can end up in various locations, including cloud storage, local drives, email attachments, and collaboration platforms. Apart from the difficulty in data management that it brings, there are also two more crucial concerns to keep in mind. Spread data is harder to protect. It increases the risk of data breaches, as sensitive information may reside in less secure locations. In addition, ensuring compliance with data protection regulations becomes more challenging when data is not centralized. This can result in non-compliance penalties and legal issues.

· Inaccuracy/AI Misinformation: AI systems are only as good as the data they are trained on, and if that data is flawed, biased, or incomplete, the AI's outputs can be misleading or incorrect.  During the GTP Client Webinar, entitled Improve Information Governance to Manage Microsoft 365 Copilot Risks, 35% of the attendees indicated that inaccurate information will eventually lead to poor decision-making, which is a constant challenge when deploying M365 Copilot.

· AI Hallucinations: GenAI could get things wrong and produce outputs that are false or misleading. These hallucinations occur when the AI generates information that appears credible but is actually inaccurate or completely fabricated. This poses significant risks, especially in situations where accuracy is paramount. It’s essential to implement robust checks and validations to ensure the reliability of AI outputs and to mitigate the impact of these hallucinations on decision-making processes.

Summarizing the above, organizations face today a new challenge related to AI safety. Following this approach, the goal is to achieve a comprehensive AI governance and data protection solution.

Here is where eShare comes in. The aim is simple: to offer solutions for both Internal Sharing Governance and External Collaboration.

With M365 Enterprise Sharing Governance, eShare is your comprehensive ally in the quest to prevent internal data oversharing and thus minimize the risk of deploying Copilot. We offer a robust solution designed to simplify your data governance processes and enhance your operational efficiency, while not impacting the necessary flow of information within your organization. We're here to help you navigate the complexities of data governance with confidence. [Learn more]

With M365 Extended Enterprise Collaboration, eShare offers an advanced solution that revolutionizes the way organizations share sensitive data with external parties. We allow users to initiate their file sharing and content collaborations from the M365 apps they are familiar with, while providing organizations the recipient access and use control and recipient link reliability that M365 natively lacks. We ensure that confidential documents are always shared appropriately with your users and accessed and used appropriately by your clients, partners and suppliers. [Learn more]

In the end, it all comes to this: Ensuring the right people have access to the right data at the right time, seamlessly and securely managing both internal and external sharing needs. This not only simplifies access but also provides peace of mind and assurance, from employees to C-level executives, that data usage is secure and automated, and productivity is accelerated, thanks to the combined power of eShare and Copilot.

Don Winter

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