Home > The First Principle of AI by Design: Privacy and Security

The First Principle of AI by Design: Privacy and Security

Privacy and Security

SolarWinds has launched AI by Design, a dynamic framework for integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into our IT management solutions. AI by Design consists of four fundamental principles: Privacy and Security, Accountability and Fairness, Transparency and Trust, and Simplicity and Accessibility. In the second installment in our series exploring this exciting new paradigm, we’ll examine how SolarWinds places the safety of our customers’ data at the center of our strategy for ethical AI.

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Understanding the security risks associated with AI

SolarWinds AI engines operate on our data platform, a system designed to gather information from customer environments. The platform collects data around logs, metrics, traces, assets, alerts, and change events. These data points allow the AI system to provide critical insights into system health and, in some cases, proactively take steps to prevent IT issues. However, any system that gathers large amounts of data must account for its inherent dangers, particularly regarding privacy and security. Without adequate protection, sensitive information can be compromised, stolen, or misused.

AI systems can retain user input indefinitely, and stored information could be vulnerable in the event of a breach. The privacy rights of individuals can also be violated—AI systems can inadvertently expose personal information if it’s not properly secured.

Controlling access is the first line of defense

Sophisticated access control measures are integral to the Secure by Design framework that guides the SolarWinds approach to secure software development. We’re leveraging those same protocols to provide optimal data security in our AI systems.

Our Privacy and Security principle involves several innovative access control procedures. Role-based access control (RBAC) allows people to access only the parts of a system they need to do their jobs. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds extra layers of security by requiring multiple forms of identification, like a password and a fingerprint. Privileged access management (PAM) monitors who gains entry to the most important regions of a system. These methods are designed to ensure that only authorized persons can access sensitive information, reducing the risk of data breaches.

In addition, SolarWinds employs robust auditing and monitoring mechanisms to enhance our security infrastructure further. These mechanisms serve as surveillance tools, monitoring access to information within SolarWinds systems and signaling unauthorized attempts. Prompt notification of anomalies in system integrity enables swift responses to security incidents.

What if sensitive data is compromised?

Preventing unauthorized access is step one. But AI by Design’s Privacy and Security principles go further, putting safeguards in place to minimize harm should data be accessed improperly. Encryption processes convert critical data into an unreadable format, rendering it unintelligible to unauthorized users. Even if data is accessed illegally, it cannot be understood without the decryption key. Encryption covers data both at rest, stored on servers, and in transit (between devices), providing comprehensive protection at all stages.

SolarWinds employs additional measures to mitigate damage caused by compromised data. Anonymization removes any identifying details from data, making it impossible to link back to specific individuals. Pseudonymization replaces identifying information with non-attributable data tokens, meaning that even if someone accesses the data, it’s extremely difficult to figure out who it belongs to.

Good innovation means secure innovation

At SolarWinds, we constantly strive to improve the lives of the IT professionals we serve. However, innovation is meaningless if it threatens the security of our customers’ data. Through advanced access control protocols and sophisticated anonymization strategies, SolarWinds maximizes the safety of user data at all stages. Our AI by Design framework's Privacy and Security principle is designed to help our customers establish a secure, productive, and enduring relationship with our AI-driven solutions.

In the coming weeks, Sai Krishna will continue to explore AI by Design principles on Orange Matter, enriching your understanding of how they shape our solutions. For a deeper dive, join us for SolarWinds Day—AI: Friend or Foe? on June 26. Sai and others will discuss factors to consider when selecting AI technologies, the role of AIOps in meeting organizational needs, the cybersecurity implications of AI, and, of course, AI by Design.

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Krishna Sai
Krishna Sai is the SVP of Technology & Engineering at SolarWinds. He has over two decades of experience in scaling & leading global teams, innovating…
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