BlackBerry Limited has released new research revealing that 93% of organisations in Australia are currently implementing or considering bans on ChatGPT and other Generative AI applications within the workplace (compared to 75% globally).
Of the IT decision-makers surveyed in Australia, 69% deploying or considering bans said the measures are intended as long term or permanent, with previous cybersecurity breaches, data security and privacy and bans put in place by other organisations, all driving decisions to take action.
In addition, 96% voiced concerns that unsecured apps pose a cybersecurity threat to their corporate IT environment.
Despite Australias inclination towards outright bans, the majority also recognise the opportunity for Generative AI applications in the workplace to attract younger talent (Australia the highest at 58%), as well as increase efficiency, innovation and enhance creativity (all next at 54%), the research finds.
When it comes to using Generative AI tools for cybersecurity defense, the majority of respondents (92%) remained in favour, suggesting that IT decision makers in Australia dont want to be caught flat-footed and give cyber criminals the upper hand.
Jonathan Jackson, Director of Engineering for BlackBerry Cybersecurity in Asia Pacific and Japan, says, "We are witnessing growing concerns among Australian and New Zealand organisations as they grapple with the impact of Generative AI apps in the workplace."
"In less than a year, Generative AI has accomplished what no other technology has revolutionising content creation and the way people work, but there are also a lot of unknowns."
"We believe businesses can lose out on valuable innovation by taking a heavy-handed approach to company-wide bans on risky apps when there is an easier path forward. We urge companies to keep up-to-date on the risks, but remain flexible, re-visit policies and ensure the right software tools are in place for visibility, monitoring and management of apps used in the workplace."
The research also revealed that although 80% of IT decision makers in Australia agree that organisations are within their rights to control the applications that employees use for business purposes, 92% (compared to 74% globally) think that such bans signal excessive control over corporate and BYO devices.
This underlines the paradoxical environment decision-makers are facing as the nation continues to embrace Gen AI technologies, innovate and strive to attract young employees, while navigating security and risk, the researchers state.
For CIOs and CISOs, unified endpoint management (UEM) provides the required controls over which applications can connect to the corporate environment, ensuring enterprise security together with user privacy by containerising corporate data. At a time when consumer-grade Generative AI and other unregulated applications are unsecure, an enterprise-grade UEM solution is critical to organisations.