Intelligent, secure, automated, your data platform future

I was recently part of a workshop event where we discussed building “your future data platform”, during the session I presented a roadmap of how a future data platform can look. The basis of the presentation, which looked at the relatively near future, was how developments from “data” vendors are allowing us to rethink the way we manage the data that we have in our organisations.

What’s driving the need for change?

Why do we need to change the way we manage data? The reality is that the world of technology is changing extremely quickly and at the heart of it is our desire for data, be it creating it, storing it, analysing it or learning from it and demanding that we use data increasingly to help drive business outcomes, strategies and improve customer experience.

Alongside this need to use our data more are other challenges, from increasing regulation to the ever more complex security risk (See the recent Marriot Hotels breach of 500 million customer records) which are making further, unprecedented demands on our technology platforms.

Why aren’t current approaches meeting the demand?

What’s wrong with what we are currently doing? Why aren’t current approaches helping us to meet the demands and challenges of modern data usage?

As the demands on our data grow, the reality for many is we have architected platforms that have never considered many of these issues.

Let’s consider what happens when we place data onto our current platform.

We take our data, it could be confidential, it may not be, often we don’t know, that data is placed into our data repository when it’s placed there how many of us know;

  • Where it is?
  • Who owns it?
  • What does it contain?
  • Who is accessing it?
  • What’s happening to it?

In most cases, we don’t, and this presents a range of challenges from management and security to reducing our ability to compete with those who are effectively using their data to innovate and gain an advantage.

What If that platform instead could recognise the data as it was deposited? Then made sure it was in the right secure area, with individual file securities that would ensure it remained secure regardless of its location, then the system, if necessary, would protect the file immediately (not when the next protection job ran) and then tracked the use of that data from its creation to deletion.

That would be useful, wouldn’t it?

What do we need our modern platform to be?

As the amount of data and the ways we want to use it continues to evolve, our traditional approaches will not be able to meet the demands placed upon them and we certainly cannot expect human intervention to be able to cope, the data sets are too big, the security threats too wide-reaching and the compliance requirements ever more stringent.

However, that’s the challenge we need our future data platforms to meet, they need to be, by design, secure, intelligent and automated. The only way we are going to be able to deliver this is with the help of technology augmenting our efforts in education, process and policy to ensure we use our data and get the very best from it.

That technology needs to be able to deliver this secure, intelligent and automated environment from the second it starts to ingest data, it needs to understand what we have and how it should be used and importantly it shouldn’t just be reactive, it has to be proactive, the minute new data is written it applies intelligence, ensuring immediately we secure our data, store and protect it accordingly and be able to fully understand its use throughout its lifecycle.

Beyond this, we also need to make sure that what we architect is truly a platform, something that acts as a solid foundation for how we want to use our data. We need to ensure once we have our data organised, secure and protected, that our platform can make sure that we can move it to places we need it, allowing us to take advantage of new cloud services, data analytics tools, machine learning engines or whatever may be around the corner, while ensuring we continue to maintain control and retain insights into its use regardless of where it resides.

These are key elements of our future data platform and ones we are going to need to consider to ensure that our data can meet the demands of our organisations to make better decisions and provide better services, driven by better use of data.

How do we do it?

Of course, the question is, can this be done today and if it can how?

The good news is, much of what we need to do this, is already available or coming very soon and which means, realistically within the next 6-18 months, if you have the desire, you can develop a strategy and build a more secure, intelligent and automated method for managing your data.

I’ve shared some thoughts here on why we need to modernise our platforms and what we need from them, in the next post I’ll share a practical example of how you can build this kind of platform by using tools that are available to you today or coming very shortly, to show that a future data platform is closer than you may think.

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Securing all of the things – Valory Batchellor – Ep44

It’s not news to anyone listening to this show that the challenge around the security of our data and systems is a substantial one. Our technology seems to be under constant threat, from external hackers, to insiders, from targeted attacks to malware finding its way randomly onto our systems and causing havoc and all of this before we look at increased regulation and compliance demands.

The ever-increasing threat has led to us looking to technology to help protect our systems, however this has now led to its own problems, with many of us investing in numerous platforms and tools which has created a huge sprawl of solutions, that do not interact, all have their own consoles and all are presenting us with alerts and notifications that we then expect our already stretched IT function to understand and act upon.

This range of individual tools of course, also means that problems can “slip through the net” as the disjointed use of technology does not necessarily allow us to see the correlation between alerts that in themselves are insignificant, but when put together point to an attack or breach in progress.

It is this problem that has inspired this series of Tech Interviews episodes looking at the security challenge, we have episodes looking at some new approaches with anonymization and blockchain, but we start by looking at the bigger picture, of building a modern security strategy.

I’m joined by Valory Batchellor of IBM. IBM has done some interesting work in building what they call their Immune System, this looks to help people step back from the problem and take a wider strategic approach to tackling the security threat.

In this chat we look at the current and evolving threat, the challenges presented by multiple, disjointed security tools and we also discuss the future and how machine learning and artificial intelligence could give us an infinite amount of security analysts, working on an infinite amount of security problems, with unlimited resources!

Valory provides some fantastic insight with a real enthusiasm and obvious expertise for her subject, so enjoy the show as we look to “secure all of the things”.

You can find Valory on twitter @ValBatchellor

You can find out more from IBM security at securityintelligence.com and www.ibm.com as well as look at some of the research from IBM x-force.

And do look at the work the national cybersecurity centre here in the UK is doing via their website www.ncsc.gov.uk

Next week I’m joined by Harry Keen from anon.ai as we look at data anonymization and the part it plays in data security.

To catch that show, why not subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher.

Thanks for listening

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 varonis.com

Have a look at their excellent range of BLOGS at blog.varonis.com 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 www.northwestdataforum.co.uk

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;
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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

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The Data Privacy Challenge – Sheila Fitzpatrick – Ep8

The security of our data is a significant challenge for us all, as individuals and as organisations, big or small, keeping our data secure and maintaining privacy is no longer a nice to have, it’s a necessity.

In this episode, global data privacy expert Sheila Fitzpatrick joins me, Sheila is data privacy officer for global storage giant NetApp. Her job is not to sell NetApp solutions, her role is to ensure they comply with global data privacy legislation.

In our chat, we discuss the difference between privacy and security, is the data security challenge a myth?, the impact of GDPR and how to start building robust data privacy solutions.

Sheila is an attorney and renowned global expert in her field. She is truly passionate about the topic of privacy and shares some fantastic tips.

So dive in and enjoy the episode.

if you’d like more information from Sheila you can follow her on LinkedIn and also on twitter @sheilafitzp

I also had the pleasure while at NetApp Insight to interview Sheila for NetApp’s own event coverage, you can find that brief interview here.

I hope you enjoyed this latest episode, next week, I’m chatting software developer careers with Joshua Lowe as he tells me about his already exciting progress as a developer, oh and did I mention he is only 12!

If you want to make sure you don’t miss out, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts.

You can of course catch up on all the back catalogue here in the TechStringy Interview section of the site.

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