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If you want to catch data leaks you need to have real-time visibility over where it lives and moves in the environment. Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are critical for identifying potential security incidents and mitigating them before generating compliance liabilities. 

One of key providers taking an AI-driven approach to threat prevention is risk intelligence provider Shield, which today announced it has raised $20 million as part of a series B funding round led by Macquarie Capital.

Shield’s financial compliance solution uses AI to conduct behavioral analysis and monitor employee activity across communication channels like WhatsApp, Slack and Microsoft Teams to continuously prevent data leaks. 

This automated approach enables organizations to automatically address insider threats and the exposure of regulated in a way that can keep up with the pace that data traverses throughout the environment. 

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Using AI to control compliance risk 

The announcement comes as organizations are struggling to control the flow of regulated data, with research showing that almost one in 10 employees will exfiltrate data in a six-month period. 

It also comes as compliance liabilities have skyrocketed across the financial services industry, with Wall Street banks exposed to fines of $2 billion for employees’ unauthorized use of WhatsApp. 

One of the reasons for the struggle to address insider threats and data leakage is that organizations have shifted to hybrid working environments without having the security measures in place needed to protect sensitive data from exposure as it moves inside and out of the network. 

“COVID accelerated the new way in which we communicate across businesses. With an immediate need to address business continuity, overnight, organizations of all types became overly reliant on electronic communication channels like WhatsApp, Zoom and Slack,” said Shield cofounder and CEO, Shiran Weitzman.

“While convenient, this massive communication shift also brings significant risk, compliance and security concerns that could result in disastrous data leaks and debilitating fines,” Weitzman said. 

This increase in complexity has made it much more difficult for security teams to maintain visibility over how data is accessed and traverses the network.

“With so many new communications channels, compliance, security and IT executives, and their teams, are being flooded with data that is difficult to decipher, archive and analyze,” Weitzman said. 

Weitzman’s answer to this predicament is to provide security teams with a defensive AI compliance solution that can identify potential risks in real time across multiple communication channels, and intercept negligent or malicious insiders before they can leak regulated information. 

A look at other AI-driven compliance solutions 

Shield’s solution fits loosely within the enterprise governance, risk and compliance software market, which researchers anticipate will reach $96.98 billion by 2028. 

The vendor is competing against other compliance vendors like Behavox, a risk and compliance provider that uses AI to conduct surveillance on instant messaging platforms to identify threats including market manipulation, conflicts of interest and financial crime. 

Behavox most recently announced raising $100 million in funding in February 2020.

Another competitor is Relativity, a legal and compliance e-discovery software provider that incorporates 24/7 monitoring, threat intelligence and a purpose-built AI to monitor the behaviors and activities of employees and contractors to prevent data breaches. Relativity achieved a $3.6 billion valuation in 2021. 

Currently, the main difference between Shield and these providers is the approach of its AI. “Shield’s AI and ML [machine learning] technology is able to model real human behavior and generate proactive, relevant alerts that add critical context to every decision,” Weitzman said. 

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