The Future is Bright, The Future is Data – Matt Watts – Ep 21

The idea that our data is critical to the future of our organisation isn’t a new one, the focus around managing it, protecting and securing it underlines its importance to any modern organisation.

But protecting our data and ensuring we maintain its privacy and security is not the only important focus we should have.

You don’t need to look around the technology industry too much to hear phrases such as “data is the new gold” or “data is the new oil”, but like any good marketing phrase, it is based on a degree of fact.

As marketing-y as those phrases are, it would be wrong to dismiss them. The image I chose for this blog post suggests, “if the future is digital, the guy with the most data wins”,  However, I think that phrase is only partly correct.

It is certain that the modern organisation is becoming increasingly digital, transforming into one that is relying on data and digital workflows for its success, however when it comes to data, it’s not how much data you have, it’s what you do with it and learn from it that will determine who really wins.

That’s the focus of this week’s podcast as I’m joined by NetApp’s Director, Technology and Strategy, Matt Watts.

Matt is in an interesting position, working for one of the world’s largest “traditional” storage vendors and charged with helping them to develop a strategy for dealing with challenges faced by organisations in a world where “traditional” storage is seen as something less valuable.

Maybe to the surprise of many, Matt agrees, while NetApp have great products, they fully accept that the future isn’t about IOPS, Capacities and flashing lights. All that really matters is the data.

In this episode, Matt provides fascinating insights into the modern data world, how extracting valuable information from data is a significant advantage to an organisation, how 3rd party companies working with storage vendors is critical to the future of data management and how companies like Microsoft, Amazon and IBM with Watson are commoditising machine learning and artificial intelligence to a point where, organisations of all sizes, can take advantage of these very smart tools to give them insights and understanding that just a few years ago was out of the reach for all but the very wealthiest of companies.

We also look at how building an appropriate data management strategy is crucial in enabling organisations to access tools that can allow them to take full advantage of their data asset.

Have a listen, Matt provides some great information to help you to get the maximum from your data and be the person not with “the most data” but the one with “the most information from their data” that wins.

Enjoy the show.

To find out more from Matt you can find him on twitter @mtjwatts or follow his blog at (check out the article “Your Supermarket knows more about you than your Doctor) and to find out more about NetApp’s own data management strategies check out the “Data Fabric” section of their website.

If you enjoyed the show, why not subscribe to the Tech Interviews podcast;

Subscribe on Android


Podcasts for the weekend 24th March

Another weekend – another couple of tech podcasts you may want to give a listen to…

MS Partner Podcast

This is a relatively new one for me and although it’s pitched at Microsoft partners, there is lots of great general technical and IT career information in there.

This is quite an old episode I came across from last year, a chat with Christian Buckley, talking about why companies should hire technology evangelists, not only why they should, but how that role can be a huge benefit.

Well worth a listen if you are interested in that kind of career move or wondering if it the kind of role your business needs;

MS Partner Podcast

Veeam Community Podcast

Missed this one last week (sorry!), Veeam are one of my favourite software companies and have had a long established communities podcast.

However it has had a little hiatus, but now it’s back, with a new host in Michael Cade (@MichaelCade1) – in this new show, he picks on one of my favourite technologies with another podcast favourite VMware’s Pete Flecha veeamcommunitypodcastlogo(@vPedroArrow)as they discuss VMware’s VVOLS technology, what that delivers and why it’s a smart technology. There is also a great chat about tech community on the end.. great show, looking forward to more;

Veeam Podcast

Tech Interviews

As always, a plug for my own show here to.. this week I chat with John Hughes of Varonis, as we discuss the important of data and user insights as we continually look at how we better understand and secure our data.techstringy interviews logo

“If you don’t know about it, you can’t protect it”

What you don’t know, may hurt you – John Hughes – Ep 20


Enjoy the shows and have a great weekend.






What you don’t know, may hurt you – John Hughes – Ep 20

We are all familiar with the saying “what you don’t know, won’t hurt you”. Well in the world of data management, security and privacy the opposite is most definitely true.

For most of us, as our organisations become more digital, we are increasingly realising the value of our data, how big an asset it is and how important maintaining it is.

However, although we understand how valuable our data is, we actually have very little insight into what is happening to it on a day to day basis.

Ask yourself, do you know exactly what data you have across your business, do you know exactly who has access to it, where it is stored, when it gets accessed, if it even gets accessed and when it’s accessed what gets done with it?

In my time administering IT systems, or working with those that do, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been asked “who changed that file”, “who deleted that file?”, “can you tell me the files that a user has accessed and copied to a USB stick?” the answer is normally no, and it’s normally no, because our standard storage solutions can’t tell us.

Imagine a logistics company asking questions like, “who’s driving that lorry”, “who was the last person to drive it?”, “where is Fred taking that lorry?”, “can you tell me the type of lorries we have?” and been told, no, we don’t know any of that information, ridiculous right? Yet we do that with our data asset.

We have talked in recent episodes about the threat to our data security and privacy, be it policies or procedures or our people. Just as significant a threat is the inability to fully understand what is going on with our data sets, a lack of insight and analysis means it’s very easy for our data to be abused, lost and stolen without us having the slightest knowledge of it happening.

That’s our focus this week, in the last of our data security & privacy episodes, I chat withjohn hughes John Hughes of Varonis. Varonis provide data analytics and insights into how we use our data, what our data is, who is using it, what it’s used for and if it’s even used at all.

We discuss a little of the history of Varonis, why data insight is so critical, why it’s a cornerstone of our ability to meet compliance requirements and how it’s a crucial part of our defence against data security attacks.

Enjoy the show and thanks for listening.

To find out more about Varonis;

Check out

Have a look at their excellent range of BLOGS at and of course follow them on twitter @varonis

You can also request a free GDPR data assessment via their website

If you want to learn more about any of the topics in this series, and you are in the North West England on April 5th, you can join me and a range of speakers at

You can find the previous 3 episodes in this series here;

Best Take Care Of Those Crown Jewels – Sheila Fitzpatrick – Ep 17

Don’t Build Your Data Privacy House Upside Down – Sheila Fitzpatrick – Ep 18

Make People Our Best Data Security Asset – Dom Saunders – Ep 19

If you’ve enjoyed this episode, then why not subscribe;
Subscribe on Android

Podcasts for the weekend 17th March 2017

It’s Friday, what on earth am I going to do with a weekend away from the world of tech?

Don’t worry my friends, take some tech with you by way of these fine tech podcasts…


The NetApp boys are in again this week, another cracking episode, this time talking with NetApp CTO Dr. Mark ep77Bregman as they brush off their crystal ball to discuss the future of data and how it is the new business currency.

Tech ONTAP Ep 77 – 2017 CTO Predictions


Observed Tech Podcast

If you have an interest in all things Windows, then the excellent Rich Hay (better known as @winobs on the twitters)  shares the latest in what is happening in the world of Microsoft Windows.

A great info packed podcast and certainly keeps you bang up to date with the world of Windows and beyond.

In this episode plenty of insider builds, as well as a sprinkling of XBOX and the Google Cloud Next Conference.

Observed Tech Ep 221

IT Governance

This is a handy little show – only 3-4 minutes long, but provides a great round up of data security news, talking latest threats, breaches and information around IT Governance and Security.

Always 5 minutes well spent this.

IT Governance Podcast

Tech Interviews

And if all that isn’t enough – why not give Tech Interviews a listen, as this week we discuss the human side of data security and privacy. How do we turn our people into our best security asset?dom saunders

That’s the challenge that NETconsent’s Dom Saunders helps me to take on, so if you want your people as part of your data security armoury, this could be just the show for you.

Make People Our Best Data Security Asset







Make People Our Best Data Security Asset

Losing USB sticks, leaving laptops on trains, installing malware, clicking phishing links. From maliciousness to stupidity, our people are a constant problem. In fact people are our biggest data security issue aren’t they?

Aren’t they?

We have to ask ourselves, are we doing all we can to help our people? Rather than seeing them as a security problem, have we thought about how we can make them an asset as we continually look to take on the threats to our critical data?

That’s the subject of this week’s podcast, as I chat with Dom Saunders from NETconsent.dom saunders

NETconsent specialise in the human side of technology, ensuring users are fully up to date with policies and procedures, as well as continually educated about new threats and solutions.

Our people can be a huge benefit in our data security and privacy plans. In this episode we look at why many IT policies fail, the risks that poor procedures introduce, why education is so critical and how to make sure our people are getting access to the best help they can.

We wrap up looking at 5 steps you can take to make sure your users are a data security asset rather than a risk.

To find out more about NETconsent then check the NETconsent website.

To see how other businesses have worked with their people, have a look at these case studies.

You can also catch up with NETconsent on twitter @NETconsent

This is the third show in our series on data privacy and security – if you’d like to catch the other two episodes, you can here;

Best Take Care Of Those Crown Jewels – Sheila Fitzpatrick – Ep 17

Don’t Build Your Data Privacy House Upside Down – Sheila Fitzpatrick – Ep 18

Subscribe on Android

Podcasts for the weekend 10th March

It’s Friday, so I know what you are asking, What on earth should I be loading up into my podcast players for some weekend tech listening Uncle Techstringy?

Well I am glad you asked, here’s some shows I’ve heard this week, that I think are well worth sharing;


This is the NetApp podcast, always a great resource for learning about NetApp technologies and strategy, occasionally though, they also bring atechontap ep76 with yahoo topic with wider appeal for those who are a non NetApp audience, and this is one such episode.

Yahoo’s Jeff Mohler joins the team to talk about how Yahoo develop their infrastructure and the methodologies they use to measure performance, troubleshoot and deploy technology and how they have built their own tools for doing so.

Tech ONTAP Episode 76

Arrow Bandwidth

A little double header here. Arrow ECS are a global technology distributor so not necessarily a name you’d be familiar with. However our hosts David Fearne andarrow-bandwidth-logo-header Rich Holmes bring together shows covering a wide range of topics.

These two shows are looking at technology predictions for 2017. A lot of things I’m on board with, especially around data, management, security and analytics. I’d agree that they are all going to be things we see develop significantly this year.

Have a listen to the two episodes and see what you think;

Tech Trends Part 1

Tech Trends Part 2


A bit off topic this one… some of you maybe familiar with the very successful Freakonomics book, but the equally excellent podcast is always thought provoking and quick to challenge common held perceptions.freakanomics

This episode from a couple of weeks ago caught my attention, as it looked at the visual effects industry and how it’s possible for a seemingly very successful industry to be derailed by the effect of things outside of their control.

Always worth a listen.

No Hollywood ending for the visual effects industry

Tech Interviews

No list is complete without my own podcast. This week is part 2 of my chat with Sheila Fitzpatrick regarding data privacy.022617_1149_Besttakecar1.jpg

We pick up on the specific effect of GDPR on the UK and the wider impact on countries outside of the EU. We then take on the challenge of how do we start to build our data privacy policies and controls.

The focus is, make sure you get your foundations right, because without that, we may well find out data privacy house falling down.

Check it our here;

Don’t Build Your Data Privacy House Upside Down – Sheila Fitzpatrick – Ep 18

Enjoy the podcasts and have a great weekend.










Don’t Build Your Data Privacy House Upside Down – Sheila Fitzpatrick – Ep 18

There is no doubt that there are many difficulties presented to organisations when it comes to their data.

We understand it’s an asset, something that, if we make the most of it, can be a significant advantage to us, but of course we also understand maintaining the security and privacy of it is critical.

I think it’s fair to say, as organisations and IT professionals we are becoming much more mature in our attitudes to data privacy and security and we understand more than ever the risks posed to it.

This increased level of maturity is going to become even more important, especially with significant regulation changes on the horizon and none are more significant than the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In this weeks podcast, the second part of my conversation with Global Data Protection Attorney Sheila Fitzpatrick (You can find part one here), we discuss exactly what GDPR is going to mean to us as organisations, including those organisations that are outside of the EU (including the impact on the UK).022617_1150_Besttakecar1.jpg

Not only do we look at the impacts of the legislation, Sheila also shares with us some of the initial steps you can take to start to build robust data privacy policies.

How important it is to get the foundation right. How we need to understand our data, where we get it from, how we get it and what we keep and how this is much more important, initially, than finding technology tools to deal with the problem. Build the foundation before you build the second floor!

We also explore how data privacy and GDPR is NOT the problem of IT, it’s a business challenge, IT are certainly a key part in helping to deliver security, privacy and compliance, but it not an issue to throw back at IT to solve.

I hope you’ve found these two episodes with Sheila useful in providing an outline of the problem, as well as some of the steps you can take to address it.

If you want to catch up more with Sheila, you can find her on twitter @sheilafitzp and on Linkedin.

Next week, we look at a different part of the data security challenge, People.

I chat with Dom Saunders from NETconsent as we look at how we can make our people a key asset in dealing with the data challenge.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss that episode, then please subscribe on iTunes, Soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts.

Thanks for listening…

Subscribe on Android

Podcasts for the weekend 3rd March

Putting the weekend podcast recommendations into one post, seemed helpful to people last week.. so here we go again…

If you’re looking to get some Tech Podcast time this weekend, here’s some shows I’ve heard this week that you may enjoy and learn from…

A focus on IT security this week, heard some really interesting content, definitely learned quite a bit!

Speaking in Tech

Another cracker this one.. Ed steers the podcast ship with Peter Smallbone.. but this weeks guest Samy Kamkar steals the show.. potentially while stealing data! a fascinating insight into hacking and building the worm that took down Myspace (remember that!) great listen…

Speaking In Tech – Episode 250

Storage Unpacked

This is a relatively new show – lead by some of the industries best known commentators.

This is an interesting episode as Chris Evans is joined by Jaspreet Singh, founder of Druva.

Druva are a very smart company and this leads to an interesting chat about the importance of managing your “edge” data, that held on laptops, smartphones etc.. the stuff that goes out of the front door, how we protect it and most importantly how we find it again. Also a fascinating chat about cloud vendors, how to chose one and what you should think about.

Storage Unpacked – Cloud Data Protection

Note To Self

A little different this show – not as out and out techie focused, more a show about how we, as humans, use technology. This episode looks at the different tactics we can have as individuals dealing with concerns over privacy.

Always entertaining and thought provoking.

Note To Self

Tech Interviews

And of course, got to promote my own show, this week is the first in a series looking at data security and privacy. Data Privacy Attorney Sheila Fitzpatrick joins me to put some context around privacy, what it means, how it differs from security and also introduces the hot topic that is GDPR.

Sheila is hugely experienced in the field and has lots of great advice.. so give it a go.

Tech Interviews – Best Take Care Of Those Crown Jewels – Sheila Fitzpatrick – Ep 17

Happy listening.. look out for more next week.