Once regarded as a technological novelty, GenAI has evolved into a formidable enterprise force, capable of automating and performing a wide range of tasks.
However, new research published by Kaspersky has underscored a growing unease among C-suite executives about the silent infiltration of the emerging technology across their organisations.
The vast majority (95%) of senior bosses surveyed by the cybersecurity specialist believe AI is regularly being used by employees, with more than half (53%) stating it is now driving certain departments.
But almost three in five (59%) executives are also expressing deep concerns about potential security risks that could jeopardise sensitive information and result in the total loss of control of core business functions.
What’s more, the research also suggests the C-suite has already lost control of the deployment, oversight and purpose of GenAI. Just 22% of respondents have discussed establishing rules and regulations to monitor its use, despite nine in 10 admitting they need greater understanding of how internal data is being used by employees to protect against security risks or data leaks.
“GenAI offers massive productivity benefits to businesses but, while our findings reveal boardroom executives are clearly acknowledging its presence in their organisations, the extent of its use and purpose are shrouded in mystery,” comments David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky.
“Given GenAI’s rapid evolution is currently showing no sign of abating, the longer these applications operate unchecked, the harder they will become to control and secure across major business functions such as HR, finance, marketing or even IT.”
Bosses concerned about data loss
In carrying out its study, Kaspersky interviewed more than 1,800 C-level executives based in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Romania, the Netherlands and Greece.
Researchers discovered boardroom concerns about data loss are very real, with three in five (59%) senior executives expressing serious apprehension over the potential for employees to give away sensitive data when inputting information into GenAI platforms.
Despite these worries, the findings reveal exactly half of executives still have plans to harness the power of GenAI in future and are looking to automate repetitive tasks their employees are currently handling on a daily basis. A further 44% signalled their intention to integrate GenAI into their own routines to improve productivity.
Given the inherent security risks, a surprising 24% of executives stated they are inclined to automate IT and cybersecurity departments using GenAI.
“One might assume the prospect of sensitive data loss and losing control of critical business units might make the C-suite pause for thought,” continues Emm, “but our findings reveal almost a quarter of industry bosses are currently considering the delegation of some of their most important functions to AI.
“It is imperative that a comprehensive understanding of data management and the implementation of robust policies precede any further integration of GenAI into the corporate environment.”
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