Research suggests that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day at our current pace of technology. This is only due to accelerate with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT).

While advances in technology to capture and process large amounts of information enable organisations to manage and make the most of all this data, many are already struggling to handle this information explosion.

To take control of this increase in data and regulatory compliance, organisations should look to artificial intelligence (AI). While often discussed in terms of driverless cars, smart homes, medical breakthroughs, virtual assistants or any number of new future-gazing innovations, it can also play a key role for the enterprise.

It enables organisations to find relevant and pertinent business-related information quickly. In addition to spotting patterns and trends, it can pinpoint any abnormal outliers in the data. In this way, AI can separate the signal from the noise, simultaneously managing huge amounts of data while swiftly identifying potential problem areas in the outliers.

Big data overload

Companies operating under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – and other regulation focused on data privacy – are faced with the challenge of protecting sensitive personal information in the face of big data.

To do this effectively across their entire data set, businesses must be able to identify, manage, analyse and protect the personal information within both their structured and unstructured data.

Organisations might be used to analysing structured data which fits within traditional databases, such as numbers and short menu items. However, many struggle to get a handle on their unstructured data, ranging from corporate email and voicemails through to social media feeds, videos and audio files.

One of the key questions they are trying to address is how to identify and protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) efficiently across both structured and unstructured data.

Yet as the enterprise collects more and more data, there continues to be a widening gap between corporate-data generation and the resources required to access, understand, manage and protect this data. This needs to be addressed quickly if organisations are to solve the data overload and compliance puzzle.

Implementing AI to ease data overload and GDPR compliance

AI tools can be implemented to address both data overload and GDPR compliance by providing real-time focus on the most valuable information within the mass of irrelevant corporate data.

By deploying AI, organisations can gain extensive visibility and identify previously unknown blind spots with an integrated and comprehensive approach that looks at all data, regardless of format.

Using technology that can automatically identify trends, patterns and abnormalities allows the end user to understand what is going on, predict what will happen in future and spot problem areas. With these insights, businesses can successfully manage their data to improve business processes and ultimately drive the best possible business outcomes.

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However, AI can also accelerate the process of accurately identifying PII in support of GDPR and other regulatory compliance. This sensitive personal information cannot be protected if IT does not know it exists, or where it is stored. With AI, organisations can sort through huge amounts of data to pinpoint PII and ensure the correct security measures are in place to achieve compliance.

In addition to easing the GDPR compliance process and giving IT peace of mind, this enables an organisation to enhance customer attraction – and retention – by stamping ‘GDPR compliant’ on their brand.

The knock-on impact: Securing data and business reputation

GDPR requires businesses to construct robust defences and implement the proper policies, procedures, and technology to ensure that data stays private and is sufficiently protected.

By utilising AI to uncover sensitive PII as a first step, companies can ensure that the correct data is safeguarded in line with regulatory requirements. This will also help prevent data breaches, as well as the resulting non-compliance fines and reputational damage.

In the era of big data and the GDPR, implementing AI within an organisation’s data strategy is the key to overcoming data overload and compliance issues.

The initial benefits include gaining valuable business insights, ensuring regulatory compliance and avoiding data breaches.

However, deploying AI will also be vital if an organisation is to manage its data successfully and remain competitive in coming years – particularly as the pace of today’s information explosion continues to accelerate.

Read more: Augmented intelligence: new concept in AI or an obvious conclusion?