Shadow of Business Man Devil

Aug 3, 2023 5:08:05 PM | Open AI The Threat of Shadow ChatGPT

Shadow ChatGPT is a growing problem that enterprises must to deal with.

The proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in the workplace has brought about a significant boost in productivity, enabling organisations to streamline operations and make more informed decisions.

However, a less positive side effect of this AI revolution that is causing a significant stir is the concept of "Shadow ChatGPT."

Shadow ChatGPT, is the unauthorised use of AI-based chat tools like OpenAI's GPT, that mirrors the broader phenomenon of shadow IT, where employees use unapproved software or hardware without the knowledge of their IT department.

While these tools can indeed enhance individual productivity by answering queries, generating content, and automating mundane tasks, their unauthorised use poses grave data security risks for the employees company.

Employees can inadvertently input sensitive data into these chatbots, which is subsequently assimilated into the chatbot's training data. Once integrated, this confidential information can unintentionally be exposed to other users, leading to potential data breaches.

Recent research by Cyberhaven Labs shows that almost 5.6% of workers in various industries have used ChatGPT in the workplace, with 4.9% feeding company data into the AI model. 

Shockingly, a staggering 11% of the data pasted into ChatGPT is confidential. Therefore, an average company risks leaking its sensitive material to ChatGPT hundreds of times per week.

Given these alarming statistics, it is not surprising that leading corporations such as JP Morgan and Verizon have blocked access to ChatGPT over concerns about data security. Despite these restrictions, the lure of improved productivity continues to attract employees to these AI tools, exacerbating the problem of Shadow ChatGPT.

Common Risks with AI chatbots like ChatGPT

  1. Data Breach: Employees might unwittingly input sensitive data into the chatbot, which then becomes part of its training data. If the model is then used to generate responses for other users, it could unintentionally divulge confidential information.

  2. Data Misuse: If ChatGPT or any AI model is misused intentionally, it can lead to serious data breaches. A malicious actor could use it to gather sensitive information from unsuspecting users.

  3. Non-Compliance: The use of shadow IT can lead to non-compliance with data protection regulations such as the GDPR or CCPA. Non-compliance could result in hefty fines for the organisation.

  4. Data Ownership and Privacy: Given that the data provided to AI models like ChatGPT becomes part of the training data, it might be unclear who owns this data. Issues related to data ownership and privacy could arise.

As enterprises grapple with this growing threat, it becomes imperative to devise effective strategies to mitigate the risk. Here are some recommended measures:

Strengthen IT Policies: Companies need to implement stringent IT policies that restrict the use of unauthorised software. Clearly communicating these policies and the associated risks to all employees is equally crucial.

Regular Employee Training: To prevent accidental data leaks, employees need to understand the cybersecurity risks associated with the unauthorised use of AI tools. Regular training sessions can significantly enhance employee awareness.

Active Monitoring and Auditing: Regular monitoring of IT usage can help in early detection of unauthorised software usage. Additionally, auditing can ensure compliance with IT policies.

Adopt Approved AI Tools: If AI chatbots are improving productivity, it may be beneficial for the company to officially adopt these tools. This allows for controlled usage, mitigating the risk of data leaks.

Implement Additional Security Measures: Enterprises should consider strengthening their security infrastructure. This could include measures such as data encryption, two-factor authentication, and robust firewalls.

Shadow ChatGPT is undoubtedly a growing challenge that businesses can no longer ignore.  However, with well-thought-out strategies, it is possible to strike a balance between leveraging the productivity-enhancing benefits of AI chatbots and ensuring data security.

Our Secure ChatGPT Solution

Talk with us about our ChatGPT powered platform, that uses Microsoft Azure Open AI to secure and separate ChatGPT for each of our customers meaning.

Your prompts (inputs) and completions (outputs), your embeddings, and your training data:

  • are NOT available to other customers.
  • are NOT available to OpenAI.
  • are NOT used to improve OpenAI models.
  • are NOT used to improve any Microsoft or 3rd party products or services.
  • are NOT used for automatically improving Azure OpenAI models for your use in your resource.
  • Your fine-tuned Azure OpenAI models are available exclusively for your use.

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James Ruthven

Written By: James Ruthven

James Ruthven is a technology leader with 25+ years of success in leading organisations in change and growth, delivering solutions that transform customer experience.