Screen with AI icons showing how AI will take over privacy tech

AI Predicted to Take Over Privacy Tech

More than 40% of privacy tech solutions aimed at ensuring legal compliance are predicted to rely on Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the course of the next three years, analysts from the business research and advisory firm Gartner Inc have found.

The company—which is set to present these findings among others at the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™ 2020 in Toronto, Canada in May—has found that reliance on privacy tech to ensure compliance with various privacy laws is expected to increase by at least 700% between 2020 and 2023.

This marks an increase from the 5% of privacy tech solutions that are AI driven today to the more than 40% that are predicted to become available within the next 36 months.

This development comes as companies are increasingly exposed to the combined pressures of privacy legislations and data breach risks. An October 2019 study by Bitdefender, for example, found that nearly 60% of companies had experienced a data breach since the beginning of 2017, and that nearly a quarter of the companies surveyed had suffered such a breach within the first six months of 2019 alone.

An explosion in privacy tech

The sharp spike in the use of AI to enhance privacy tech comes amid a growing market as businesses scramble to become compliant with the privacy guidelines of various global privacy regulations—most notably the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union (EU).

According to Bart Willemsen research vice president at Gartner, “privacy laws, such as [the GDPR] presented a compelling business case for privacy compliance and inspired many other jurisdictions worldwide to follow.”

Willemsen commented in the study that “more than 60 jurisdictions around the world have proposed or are drafting postmodern privacy and data protection laws as a result.”

Using Canada as an example, Willemsen adds that efforts are being made to update legislation such as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), partly on the grounds of trying to “maintain the adequacy standing with the EU post-GDPR.”

These developments come alongside the broader adoption of privacy tech, as well as practices and procedures for data protection in organizations across the globe. If organizations fail to make use of automation and AI privacy tech to assist in these changes, the study says, they will continue to risk unnecessarily high expenses in trying to become compliant.

Gartner’s analysis also found that the amount that companies around the world will spend on compliance tooling is expected to rise to $8 billion in 2022.

Willemsen goes on to point out that, although AI driven privacy tech for compliance is still “emerging,” it is nonetheless the case that “today’s post-GDPR era demands a wide array of technological capabilities.”

These capabilities are “well beyond the standard Excel sheets of the past,” he adds.

Why AI improves privacy

Gartner’s study concludes that AI will play a key role in ensuring privacy compliance remains affordable and accessible for organizations, as well as in improving privacy user experience (UX).

The study identifies subject rights requests (SRRs)—the mechanisms by which individuals can make requests to organizations concerning their privacy—as a chief area in which AI can be used to improve privacy technology.

According to a Gartner security and risk survey published last year, many companies are currently incapable of returning “swift and precise answers” when they receive SRRs from customers or website visitors. This leaves both the company and the customer in a significantly disadvantaged position.

For example, the researchers found that two-thirds of the companies surveyed reported back saying it takes them at least fourteen days to respond to a single SRR request. These SRR requests are usually handled manually, according to Gartner, with the average cost sitting at around $1,400 for each iteration. Naturally, these costs add up over time, and contribute to exorbitant overheads for companies when it comes to handling data requests of customers.

Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, can play a crucial role in not only eliminating a large part of these costs, but also dramatically shortening the time in which it takes to respond to SRR requests. This presents an attractive option for companies to pursue, and it is therefore expected to contribute to the growth of the privacy technology market in the coming years, according to Gartner’s findings.

“The speed and consistency by which AI powered tools can help address large volumes of SRRs not only saves an organization excessive spend, but also repairs customer trust,” Willemsen points out on the subject.

“With the loss of customers serving as privacy leaders’ second highest concern,” Willemsen adds, concluding that “such tools will ensure that their privacy demands are met.”