Expert predicts AI will help protect organisations against data breaches in 2024, but could also cause vulnerabilities

By Legal Futures Associate Hayes Connor

Hayes ConnorData breach specialists forecast an increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) to prevent data breaches among organisations managing sensitive data, including that of minors. However, they warn of the potential risks of AI causing breaches if mishandled.

Christine Sabino, Legal Director at Hayes Connor, data breach solicitors, shares her insights into what we can expect in 2024 regarding trends and challenges associated with data breaches.

More specifically, Christine predicts an increase in the use of AI to combat and prevent breaches via predictive analytics, which can help identify potential vulnerabilities and weak points in an organisation’s cybersecurity infrastructure.

Whilst this is a positive shift, it is also predicted there will be an uptake in AI use for process management and increased efficiency within sectors – such as government, healthcare and education – that handle sensitive data. In the legal profession, for example, it may be used for legal research, legal compliance, incident response and contract analysis.

This leads to concerns, specifically regarding whether these sectors will maintain strict regulations around AI use. More specifically, professionals are worried about sensitive data being entered into the chatbots, like confidential client information, without the knowledge of how or where this data is stored.

As such, the need for tighter security and training to harness the power of AI is paramount in 2024.

The Information Commissioner’s Office’s priorities next year consider the importance of safeguarding children’s data, so the pressure is on for these particular sectors to utilise all available resources that can contribute to security measures, and provide adequate training to implement them responsibly.

Christine says: “In 2024, businesses and organisations must elevate their commitment to data protection, placing a laser focus on refining processes that currently leave vulnerabilities for data breaches.

“The expectation is for better control measures, potentially facilitated by the integration of AI or the implementation of enhanced processes within organisations, particularly those entrusted with handling sensitive personal data. Strengthening these foundations through the use of AI is not just a necessity but a proactive step towards safeguarding the trust and security of all stakeholders.

“However, despite the pressing need to enhance security against cyber threats, a significant number of data breaches stem from human error. This problem will no doubt be escalated with the continued use of AI, so employers must take responsibility, implementing clear restrictions for its use, as well as frequent GDPR training for employees, to prevent such occurrences.

“This will rely on modernising organisations that are typically ‘set in their ways’ when it comes to data handling, including the healthcare, education, and government sectors. Even so, it is clear these changes are needed going into 2024 in order to keep up with the ever-changing data protection landscape.”

Other data breach trends and challenges predicted by Christine and the Hayes Connor team include:

  • The increased use of AI in processing data breach law;
  • Mandatory updates to business GDPR training;
  • Cost of data breaches to companies to increase;
  • Changes to ICO legislation 2024;
  • Local governments, education, and healthcare sectors at the forefront of data breaches in 2024; and
  • Increase in cyber hacking

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