Businesses have more access to rich sources of data than they have ever had. What do business and IT managers need to consider about storing, using, and transmitting this data to balance innovation with security?
The explosive worldwide adoption of the Internet by all parts of society means that organizations have access to an extraordinary amount of data. According to the website E-Marketer, more than three billion people across the globe will access the Internet using a broad array of devices. In addition, an Oracle blog post about the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) cites statistics from Forrester research indicating that 4.9 billion things, such as cars and kitchen appliances, will be sending and receiving web-based data in 2015. As society moves from the Information Age, an era marked by increased access to data, to the Information Mobility Age, business managers are eager to develop innovative ways to gain insights derived from their company’s vast stores of data. At the same time, IT managers face a multitude of challenges concerning data security. What developments do experts forecast in terms of harvesting value from big data while keeping it secure as it moves across various networks?
Adoption of Two Tiered Enterprise Resource Planning as Data Storage Moves to the Cloud
Until recently, most businesses maintained onsite databases and architecture such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications. With the advent of cloud-based data storage, companies are beginning to realize the cost efficiencies associated with moving to the cloud since businesses do not have to purchase, maintain, troubleshoot, and upgrade in house servers and software. Conversely, as business data storage moves to the cloud, IT managers are facing challenges in terms of who has access to the company’s data. Another dilemma concerns how to leverage the value of data when it may be fragmented as it is stored in different locations.
According to a recent article published on the website Tech Radar, the key to a successful transition from in-house to cloud data storage is agility in accessing and using data regardless where it is stored. To achieve this goal, Oracle recommends that businesses adopt a two-tiered ERP strategy that uses both in-house ERP software and cloud-based ERP software as a service (SaaS) solutions. Conversely, when a business does not develop an understanding of the location of their data, they are likely to fail due to missing data inputs for analytic applications and an increased risk of data leaks and breaches.
The Importance of Metadata Achieves Parity with Data
While most business owners have developed an understanding in regards to the competitive advantage associated with insights derived from their data stores, the next step for management is to grasp the importance of metadata information in their relationships with consumers and regulatory agencies. Both government regulators and consumers are increasingly placing demands on business for greater data transparency, clarity about the ownership of data, and identification of the entity ultimately responsible for data security. In fact, these very issues were the subject of a recent Agenda post on the World Economic Forum’s website.
While modern organizations compile massive amounts of data, the quantity of metadata collected by businesses is astronomical and it is often fragmented across a number of different applications, platforms, stores, and technology. In order to meet consumer and governmental demands concerning how businesses handle the data they acquire, IT managers need to develop and/ or acquire the means to track metadata in real time. By doing so, they have the evidence to support the assertion that their company is in full control of the data it stores, transmits, and receives. According to Tech Radar, the three elements of a successful metadata tracking strategy for a particular piece of data include:
- Transparent real time information about the location of the data
- Detailed description of how and when the data will be used
- Accounting of who has access to the data
- The nature of the data used by various applications.
In addition to meeting consumers’ need to know specific information about how a company handles data, metadata tracking also serves an important cybersecurity function. By tracking metadata, data and information security professionals enhance their ability to identify potential network and security breaches in real time. For example, if the metadata for a particular data set indicates an unauthorized user is gaining access to the data, the security pro may be able to shut down an attack by blocking the improperly credentialed user, regardless of whether the breach is emanating from inside the company or externally, from the network. In addition, metadata records also facilitate the investigation of data and network breaches after the fact.
In part two of this series, we will explore more ways to leverage the value of your big data to enhance security and gain critical insights that lead to bottom line benefits.
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