3 reasons why SaaS security is the indispensable first step in ensuring the safe use of AI

June 30, 2023The news about hackersSaaS Security / Artificial Intelligence,

SaaS security

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) tools is transforming the way organizations operate. From chatbots to generative AI models, these SaaS-based applications offer many benefits, from increased productivity to improved decision making. Employees using AI tools experience the benefits of quick responses and accurate results, enabling them to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. This popularity is reflected in the staggering numbers associated with AI tools.

OpenAI’s viral chatbot, ChatGPT, has amassed around 100 million users worldwide, while other AI tools like DALL E and Bard have also gained significant traction for their ability to generate impressive content effortlessly. The generative AI market is projected to exceed $22 billion by 2025, pointing to the growing reliance on AI technologies.

However, amid the excitement surrounding AI adoption, it is imperative to address the concerns of security professionals in organizations. They raise legitimate questions about the use and permissions of AI applications within their infrastructure: who uses these applications and for what purposes? Which AI applications have access to corporate data and what level of access have they been granted? What information do employees share with these applications? What are the compliance implications?

The importance of understanding which AI applications are in use and the access they have cannot be overstated. It is the basic but indispensable first step in understanding and controlling the use of AI. Security professionals must have Complete visibility into AI tools used by employees.

This knowledge is essential for three reasons:

1) Assessment of potential risks and threat protection

Enables organizations to evaluate the potential risks associated with artificial intelligence applications. Without knowing which applications are being used, security teams cannot effectively assess and protect against potential threats. Every AI tool has a potential attack surface that needs to be considered: Most AI applications are SaaS-based and require OAuth tokens to connect with leading enterprise applications like Google or O365. Through these tokens malicious players can use AI applications for lateral movement in the organization. Basic application discovery is available with free SSPM tools and is the basis for ensuring the use of AI.

Additionally, knowing which AI applications are being used within your organization helps prevent the unintended use of fake or malicious applications. The growing popularity of AI tools has attracted threat actors who create counterfeit versions to trick employees and gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. By being aware of legitimate AI applications and educating employees about them, organizations can minimize the risks associated with these malicious impersonations.

2) Implementation of robust security measures

Identifying the permissions granted to AI applications by employees helps organizations instrument robust security measures. Different AI tools may have different security requirements and potential risks. By understanding the permissions granted to AI applications and whether or not those permissions present a risk, security professionals can tailor their security protocols accordingly. Ensuring that adequate measures are in place to protect sensitive data and prevent over-permissions is the natural second step to following visibility.

3) Manage the SaaS ecosystem effectively

Understanding the use of AI applications enables organizations to do just that Act and manage your SaaS ecosystem effectively. It provides insights into employee behavior, identifies potential security gaps, and enables proactive measures to mitigate risk (for example, revoke employee permissions or access). It also helps organizations comply with data privacy regulations by ensuring that data shared with AI applications is adequately protected. Monitoring unusual AI onboarding, inconsistent usage, or simply revoking access to AI applications that shouldn’t be used are readily available security measures that CISOs and their teams can take today.

In conclusion, AI applications offer immense opportunities and benefits to organizations. However, they also introduce security issues that need to be addressed. While AI-specific security tools are still in their early stages, security professionals should leverage existing SaaS detection capabilities and SaaS Security Position Management (SSPM) solutions to address the fundamental question that serves as the basis for safe use of AI: who in my organization uses which AI application and with what permissions? Answering these fundamental questions can easily be accomplished using the available SSPM toolssaving precious hours of manual labor.

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