The Evolving Nature of Content

This post is part of a series where the Box and our Security community addresses the impact of AI on content security, and develops a strategy for keeping content secure in the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Content is more valuable than ever before. Organizations of all sizes rely on their content to collaborate on initiatives, build relationships with stakeholders, generate value, and differentiate themselves from their competition.  Content is the fuel of business.  Content is created and leveraged for its meaning, value and purpose.  It’s what differentiates content from the mountains of raw data that have to be contextually processed to be useful. 

We create content in a variety of formats, including text, images, interactive diagrams, audio, video and sensor-supplied telemetry. We store content in diverse locations, including devices, on-premises storage, cloud and SaaS (Software as a Service) applications - and across social media platforms. And we share content with a wider range of stakeholders than ever before, including employees, customers, partners, and the general public.  And now Artificial Intelligence (AI) is disrupting the content landscape.

AI supports data-driven business decisions, uncovers hidden customer sentiment, identifies new market opportunities and highlights associated trends through deep correlations.  To advance security objectives, AI assesses risks, detects fraud and potential misuse, provides actionable intelligence, and interactively adapts content protections to be business-relevant. Autonomous AI acts on behalf of humans, with the ability to assess complex multi-party situations and grant or deny approvals - with or without bias. Generative AI produces multifaceted content from prompts, events and adaptively from other content - tremendously accelerating content velocity.  

Artificial Intelligence (AI) applied to content operations gives us highly-correlated insights to truly understand the nature of content.  Is this content a customer contract, a hiring candidate’s resume or a video from a meeting that discusses highly sensitive and materially-privileged information?  How is this content optimally shared and collaborated on securely throughout its lifecycle across internal and external stakeholders – and across a myriad of disparate applications and use cases?

Content is more vulnerable than ever before.  Balancing internal and external collaboration while protecting proprietary and confidential content is an unremitting challenge.  While AI promises to amplify the security powers of IT departments and content owners, the nemesis known as Adversarial AI threatens to relentlessly breach defenses.  Whether we’re faced with honest mistakes, malicious insiders or the scourge of ransomware - everyone from security professionals to content collaborators need entrenched methods and advanced tools to keep content optimally secured.  We don’t want our valued content left exposed and continuously vulnerable to theft, unauthorized distribution or misuse.

Developing Strategic Priorities

What are our biggest goals for understanding and leveraging the evolution of content in our business?

In collaboration with security professionals from a wide range of industries, we addressed the challenge of identifying strategic priorities with regard to the evolving nature of content, and look at how some of their companies are already dealing with an AI-driven business world.

Below is a selection of the feedback - for even more discussion, detail, and strategic priorities look for our combined eBook later this year

Strategic Priority: Understand the MVP (Meaning, Value, Purpose) of content

To get the most out of AI, without creating major new challenges, organizations need to thoroughly understand their content. Where does it live, and where should it live? How should it be used? How does it create value for the organization, and just as importantly, how could it generate risk if mishandled? If we don’t have the answer to these questions, then it is impossible to get the most out of AI-powered tools, and in the case of sensitive content - they can become a real problem. Every discussion around AI needs to start with a discussion around the content it will be given access to and governance over.

“In a silo, a content element may pose no risk or seemingly little value. However, when combined with other data, content or insights - it could suddenly become invaluable.” -Don Hammons, mxHERO

Strategic Priority: Rationalizing content convergence with a clear framework

Just like it’s important to understand your content and the rules around it, an important piece of getting the most out of AI is ensuring that your content is structured in a deliberate, clear way that doesn’t (unintentionally) inhibit access. Breaking down content silos and building a combined content ecosystem can allow your organization to expand the scope of what AI can do. By better understanding and leveraging details like content metadata, organizations can provide as much data to their AI tools as possible, while also deliberately restricting it where necessary.

“This technology is new for everyone, so our approach is to remain humble and crowdsource new ideas and use cases through employee surveys in an effort to establish a company-wide brain trust. Like the old adage says, a rising tide lifts all boats.” -Matt Hoey, MarxOkubo Associates

Conclusion

After having these discussions with our security community, one thing has become extremely clear. The discussion around leveraging AI is, fundamentally, a discussion around how we manage and understand our content. The greater our insight into the content that powers our organizations, the more useful these AI-powered tools become, and the less risk they pose. Securing these tools can’t be one-size-fits-all, knowledge of your content and its lifecycle is crucial.

This blog is (some of) the first chapter of our upcoming eBook, “Developing your AI-infused Content Protection Strategy”, where we and the Box Security community attempt to chart a course for effectively securing your critical content in the age of AI. Our next chapter (and post) will cover the content threat landscape, and the impact AI has on it.

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