Are you sharing company data with ChatGPT?
Are you already using ChatGPT? Or are you considering using it, to streamline your operations or improve your customer service? While ChatGPT offers numerous benefits, it is important that you are aware of the security risks associated with sharing sensitive business data with an AI tool like ChatGPT. Below, we outline some key concerns and offer suggestions on how to mitigate the risk of sharing company data with ChatGPT.
Data privacy and confidentiality risks
Prioritising the privacy and confidentiality of your company's sensitive information is crucial. Be aware that when you use ChatGPT, you are essentially sharing your data with an external entity. The AI model processes this data to generate the desired output, which may lead to unintended exposure of sensitive information to third parties.
You can always decide that ChatGPT is not allowed to use your data for training purposes. However, even in that case, any company data you share with ChatGPT will be sent over the internet and probably stored somewhere for processing to answer your queries.
Before incorporating ChatGPT into your business, ensure that you understand the AI provider's data storage, use and retention policies, and implement strong data protection measures. As for ChatGPT, it is not so clear what they actually do with your data.
Company's intellectual property at risk
The above is especially important when it comes to your company's intellectual property (IP). When you share information with ChatGPT, there is a chance that your IP could be unintentionally leaked or copied. To mitigate this risk, avoid sharing proprietary data, trade secrets or copyrighted material with the AI tool. A recent example is the Samsung case, where employees inadvertently leaked company secrets by using ChatGPT.
Compliance with Data Protection Regulations
Many countries have data protection regulations, such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These govern how businesses collect, store and process personal information. Using ChatGPT may expose your business to compliance risks if you inadvertently share personal data.
Establish usage policies
The ease of use and accessibility of ChatGPT can be a double-edged sword, as it increases the risk of misuse or abuse by employees. Instances such as the Samsung case highlight the potential for sharing sensitive company data unintentionally. Additionally, employees may be tempted to use the AI tool for non-work-related purposes. To address these concerns, it is essential to establish clear usage policies and guidelines that detail acceptable and unacceptable behaviour when using ChatGPT.
The importance of internal policies is further amplified when considering the potential legal and financial implications of data breaches or non-compliance with data protection regulations. Alongside these policies, it is crucial to invest in education and training for your employees to ensure they understand the responsible use of ChatGPT and the potential consequences of misuse. This includes making them aware of data privacy concerns, intellectual property risks and compliance requirements.
Host your own ChatGPT instance to protect your company data
Our recommendation to address the security issues associated with using ChatGPT is to host and run your own instance of the AI tool within your company's infrastructure. This approach significantly reduces the risk of data privacy breaches, intellectual property leaks and non-compliance with data protection regulations by allowing you to retain full control over data storage, usage and retention policies. Furthermore, by hosting a ChatGPT instance within your organisation, you can closely monitor employee usage, establish access controls and track user activity to ensure it meets your organisation's standards and expectations.
By eliminating reliance on external cloud services and data centres, you also gain greater control over the AI tool's performance and you can ensure business continuity in case of third-party infrastructure issues. Although hosting your own ChatGPT instance may require additional resources and technical expertise. The benefits of enhanced data privacy, IP protection, compliance and control make it a worthwhile investment for businesses looking to harness the power of ChatGPT while mitigating potential risks.
While ChatGPT offers remarkable capabilities, it is crucial to understand and manage the associated security risks. By implementing strong data protection measures, adhering to data protection regulations, safeguarding intellectual property and monitoring employee use, you can minimise these risks and harness the power of ChatGPT to drive your business forward. If these measures are not enough, hosting your own instance may be an alternative worth looking at.
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