Embracing AI-Powered Data Security for the Digital Age

May 29, 2024
8 minutes
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Almost every company is becoming a technology company, adopting SaaS applications at a record pace and moving vast amounts of data and applications to the cloud. This drastically differs from the introduction of data loss prevention (DLP) solutions almost two decades ago, largely focused on clearly defined perimeters and driven by regulatory requirements such as HIPAA.

While DLP has evolved to meet the growing adoption of cloud solutions and new file types, organizations are now faced with modern challenges, including the ability to help prevent data loss via GenAI apps, as-a-service platforms, unmanaged devices, and more. These challenges have created major hurdles that have become key solution differentiators.

Today’s distributed digital ecosystem extends not only to data but also to the users accessing it. They come from headquarters, remote locations, homes, and through a range of managed and personal devices. This level of digital complexity with limited visibility and control invites supply chain vulnerabilities, browser-based attacks, and evolving threats via new data vectors that demand a new approach.

Let’s step into the future of data protection and see how Palo Alto Networks AI-powered data security helps solve modern data security challenges.

Visibility is the Foundation for Strong Data Security

The first pillar of robust data security is comprehensive visibility and accurate data classification. Organizations must clearly understand their data landscape, including where sensitive information resides, how it's being accessed, and who is accessing it.

Unfortunately, traditional methods struggle with classification accuracy due to vast data volumes, diverse data formats, constant changes to the data, and the need for contextual understanding. Without this visibility, identifying and mitigating potential risks becomes untenable.

Context-Aware LLM-Powered Data Classification

Palo Alto Networks data security revolutionizes data classification with context-aware LLM-powered discovery through advanced pattern recognition and real-time ML model training.

By integrating standard detection techniques with advanced AI and ML-powered techniques like natural language processing, deep learning, and graph-based detections, our fifth-generation deep neural network-based classifiers can interpret semantics and provide contextual understanding, reducing false positives by more than 90% for near-perfect accuracy.

Data Labeling Using Microsoft Information Protection

We’ve also introduced the ability to apply accurate labels to new and historical data by integrating with apps like OneDrive and SharePoint.

By leveraging AI-based data classifiers, organizations can automatically apply labels based on the data sensitivity within files, ensuring they remain protected at all times. Whether a single file or a large volume of data, it scales effortlessly to automatically update labels easily.

Cross-Domain and Multilayered Data Controls

Once visibility is established, the next step is implementing robust controls to protect data from unauthorized access. Effective data control mechanisms allow organizations to enforce policies, monitor usage, and swiftly respond to suspicious activities.

Leverage an Enterprise Browser for Last-Mile DLP

Prisma Access Browser with AI-driven security features offers an additional layer of protection to address the evolving security demands of modern organizations and their hybrid workforces.

Extending SASE's protective reach to any device in minutes, Prisma Access Browser safeguards enterprise data through various in-browser mechanisms, including data masking and controls to prevent screenshots, copy and paste, printing, and sharing sensitive data via online collaboration tools.

Sensitive files are also encrypted and restricted from downloads and uploads based on content and source to ensure movement is only granted within approved channels. Administrators can enforce browser-based access controls at the user, application, and file type levels to secure sensitive data and minimize the risk of unauthorized access.

Safeguard Against Data Loss Over Emails

Palo Alto Networks AI-powered Email DLP analyzes email communications in real-time, scanning for sensitive information and preventing unauthorized data transfers using optical character recognition, exact data match, index document match, and various ML technologies to swiftly block or encrypt emails inline.

By integrating email as part of a comprehensive data control strategy, organizations can ensure consistent management, policies, and detections across the entire data estate, transforming potential email vulnerabilities into opportunities for proactive data protection.

Single-Pane-of-Glass Data Monitoring

Siloed visibility across environments creates blind spots that increase the risk of data leakage. Data security teams need a unified view with actionable insights and streamlined enforcement to mitigate data risks proactively.

A Single, Unified Data Security Dashboard

The new data security dashboard within Strata Cloud Manager delivers the industry’s most comprehensive view of data across SaaS, cloud, email, browser, and network. This unified data map helps easily identify high-risk assets, manage incidents effortlessly, and simplify workflows so InfoSec teams can navigate the data landscape confidently and stay ahead of threats.

Figure 1: Data Security dashboard in Strata Command Center

Uncovering Suspicious SaaS Activities

In addition to a holistic data map, Behavior Threats is a cloud-based user entity and behavior analytics (UEBA) solution included with SaaS Security. It’s designed to empower InfoSec administrators with unparalleled visibility and control over SaaS environments.

Leveraging advanced ML algorithms, it proactively identifies anomalous behaviors with pinpoint accuracy and simplifies monitoring with dynamic user risk scores, predefined situational policies, detailed incident reports, user watchlists, and more.

Figure 2: Behavior Threats with policies within the SaaS Security dashboard

Introducing Your Data Protection AI Assistant: Strata Copilot

Lastly, copilots have emerged as a valuable tool in enhancing data control and security. Copilots, also known as data protection assistants, work alongside security professionals, leveraging AI capabilities to automate routine tasks and streamline security operations.

These intelligent assistants can help manage access controls, enforce encryption policies, and detect anomalies, allowing security teams to focus on more strategic initiatives while ensuring continuous protection of sensitive data.

Strata Copilot is enhanced with AI-powered insights and an intuitive conversational UI that empowers professionals to proactively manage data security. Administrators can easily navigate complex data security challenges with quick access to guidance and conversational history.

Safely Enable GenAI Without the Risk of Data Loss

As GenAI adoption explodes, it becomes an emerging data vector for employees and an enticing targets for attackers.

A recent Salesforce survey of over 14,000 workers found that 55% of employees use unapproved GenAI apps at work. With dozens of new AI applications launched every month, it’s only a matter of time before sensitive enterprise data finds its way into GenAI apps, making things challenging for InfoSec teams.

Figure 3: AI Access Security dashboard with Recommended Actions expanded

AI Access Security provides the most up-to-date GenAI app dictionary with a robust taxonomy that classifies and prioritizes GenAI apps to assess risk, detect anomalies, and visualize insights.

Hundreds of GenAI apps are categorized and mapped against over 60 AI-specific attributes to generate risk scores that allow quick and easy decisions on whether to allow or block at the individual app or category level. Organizations can gain immediate visibility into sanctioned and shadow AI with recommended actions to review and enable policies, classify applications, block sensitive data, and more.

Embrace AI for a Generational Leap in Data Security

In an era of rising data breaches, organizations must adopt an intelligent and proactive approach to data security. By harnessing the power of AI, security professionals can gain comprehensive visibility into their data landscape, implement robust controls, and protect sensitive information from unauthorized access or data leakage.

Leveraging advanced technologies, from email DLP to copilots and enterprise browsers, is essential for safeguarding critical data assets and maintaining customer trust. As data security professionals, let's embrace AI innovation to fortify our defenses and stay ahead of emerging threats in an increasingly digital world.

Register for InterSECt 2024 to discover all the latest advancements in Prisma SASE and AI-powered data security.

This blog contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including, without limitation, statements regarding the benefits, impact, or performance or potential benefits, impact or performance of our products and technologies. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and there are a significant number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from statements made in this blog. We identify certain important risks and uncertainties that could affect our results and performance in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, and our other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from time-to-time, each of which are available on our website at investors.paloaltonetworks.com and on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. All forward-looking statements in this blog are based on information available to us as of the date hereof, and we do not assume any obligation to update the forward-looking statements provided to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date on which they were made.


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