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Navigating data governance and classification in generative AI with NetApp


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Jonsi Stefansson

In today's data-driven world, the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies has ushered in a new era of possibilities and challenges. One of the foremost challenges that organizations face in employing AI, particularly generative AI (GenAI), is to ensure robust data governance and classification practices.

In the realm of GenAI, the quality and breadth of the data set directly affect the performance and creativity of AI models. Just as an artist draws inspiration from a wide array of experiences and observations, GenAI relies on a rich tapestry of data to craft meaningful and innovative outputs. The right data fuels the learning process, enabling AI to understand the patterns, nuances, and complexities inherent in the task at hand. Without high-quality organization-specific context, GenAI may produce outputs that lack coherence, relevance, or diversity.

However, even data that is specific to an organization is seldom timeless; it is simply a snapshot in time that can become outdated, resulting in information that loses context. Your organization may initiate a new product launch, introduce new features and capabilities, combine products into a new solution set, or discontinue a product that is no longer relevant to the market. Incorporating these changes into your data repository is crucial to achieving a high degree of retrieval accuracy.

Another factor to consider is that these massive data sets may contain sensitive information, such as personally identifiable details, confidential medical histories, and financial records. Even seemingly innocuous data, like customer purchasing trends or upcoming product strategies, could prove detrimental to the organization if disclosed to competitors. It’s vital for companies to consolidate, categorize, evaluate, and share data, while preventing unauthorized access and adhering to regulatory standards.

How can you make sure that you're maximizing the potential of your company’s data assets responsibly and securely? Often, data that has been dormant for years or even decades. At NetApp, we understand the need for a comprehensive approach to data governance and classification. Our tools help you to unlock the value of your business's most precious asset: its data.

The role of data governance in generative AI

Data governance refers to the framework of policies, procedures, and controls implemented to ensure the quality, integrity, and security of data throughout its lifecycle. In the context of generative AI, robust data governance practices are essential for the following practices.

  • Protect sensitive information. By classifying data based on its sensitivity and implementing access controls, organizations can prevent unauthorized access to confidential data, mitigating the risk of breaches or misuse of GenAI applications.
  • Ensure ethical use. Establishing clear guidelines and ethical standards for data usage helps organizations navigate the ethical complexities associated with GenAI, such as generating synthetic data responsibly and avoiding biases or discriminatory outcomes.
  • Maintain regulatory compliance. Compliance with data protection regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, is of utmost importance.

Data classification strategies for generative AI

Data classification involves categorizing data based on its sensitivity, value, and regulatory requirements. NetApp’s comprehensive set of features goes beyond basic data cataloging. Leveraging AI, machine learning, and natural language processing technologies, we categorize and classify data by type, redundancy, and sensitive information, constantly highlighting potential compliance exposures.

NetApp offers a range of data classification strategies tailored to the unique challenges posed by GenAI.

  • Data estate visibility. Improve the cleanliness of your data and gain knowledge about sensitive information with complete visibility of your entire NetApp® data estate, both on-premises and in the public cloud. Your data scientists, AI engineers, IT administrators, and compliance teams are able to harness the power of all your data sets, optimize costs, and reduce risk.
  • Discover personal and sensitive data. Our classification capabilities can identify personally identifiable information (PII), credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank account numbers, and sensitive personal data like health details, ethnic background, or sexual orientation. This ability facilitates compliance with regulatory requirements across jurisdictions, so you can feel confident that your most sensitive information is safe.
  • Data optimization. To reduce overhead and ensure that AI models receive the most current context, you need to eliminate duplicate, stale, and nonbusiness data that can distort results. The NetApp data intelligence platform helps you discover, map, and classify your data to prepare it for GenAI and retrieval augmented generation (RAG), so that your chatbot provides the most accurate answers.

Let NetApp be your strategic partner in generative AI

As organizations increasingly harness the power of GenAI to drive innovation and competitive advantage, the importance of robust data governance and classification practices cannot be overstated. NetApp's expertise in data management and storage solutions, coupled with our deep understanding of the challenges posed by GenAI, positions us as a trusted partner for organizations seeking to responsibly navigate this rapidly evolving landscape.

By implementing comprehensive data governance frameworks and employing advanced data classification strategies, organizations can unlock the full potential of GenAI while safeguarding against risks and ensuring ethical and compliant use of data.

In collaboration with NetApp, organizations can harness the transformative power of GenAI while upholding the highest standards of data governance and classification.

To explore further, visit our NetApp AI Solutions page.

If you missed out on our webinar where we talked through the survey results of IDC's AI maturity model white paper, you can watch it here.

Learn more about how NetApp BlueXP classification can help simply data governance and provide actionable insights.

Start your free test drive of BlueXP classification in a completely isolated environment.

Jonsi Stefansson

Jonsi Stefansson is NetApp's Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President. An experienced executive and founder, he's led startups and Fortune 500 companies. An Icelander with a passion for family, travel, and culture, Jonsi enjoys golf, fishing, and relaxing at his summerhouse with a glass of wine or Kaldi beer.

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