Another trip to Vegas

What happens in Vegas, is captured, stored and analyzed in Vegas.  Everything that can be tracked is, Big Data at its finest.  What’s the upside?  Your Diet Coke arrived with the lime in it you forgot to ask for.

Yes, I was in Vegas again this week.  This time to speak at the Privacy.Security.Risk conference, run by the IAPP, who also covered DataGravity in a blog earlier this year.  The title of the talk was “Using Data Visualization to Create a Governance Framework.”  I was likely the only data person, with roots in Storage and Data Security.

I come in peace.

I started my talk with “I come in peace.”  This was to address the elephant in the room that the Security, Privacy and Risk Management folks and Storage folks in a company don’t always have the warmest relationships.  This stems from the belief that they have conflicting goals.  In reality, these teams have the same goals, just a different way to describe them and different constraints.  Both are sworn to uphold the availability, integrity, and privacy of their company’s data assets.  One does this by defining policy, the other by managing the storage.

The talk focused on how your data can be visualized to help build a Governance framework (set of policies for your data), that is based on what you have and your highest priority concerns. Basically, we all acknowledge that it’s difficult to make rules when there’s not clear visibility into what data you have, where it lives, who is accessing it, and why they have rights to this data.

Data Governance Framework

What Information Do You Have to Work With?

John Joseph, my DataGravity co-founder wrote about these new 5 W’s, a spin on the basic 5 W’s we learned about in grammar school. We then walked through visualization of typical of data shares and what those visualizations were telling us. Simple things like: why are there executables in the HR share? Did we install applications there? If so why? Who’s accessing restricted content on the Finance share? Why does the Public share have confidential information in it? Lots of things to look at and sort through what is the norm and the things that make you go hmmm…

I also talked about the current reality that data is under attack from the outside and the inside. There are people trying to steal (breach or leak), kidnap (ransomware), and murder (virus) the data we all are committed to protect.  Coordinated proactive efforts using the weapons on both sides would help us protect this data, we need to work together and share what we know.  Also, demand that the products we buy must give us the visibility we need to make smart, measurable, enforceable rules for our data.

Data PeaceThe talk lasted an hour. I have to admit, I was nervous going in.  An hour is a long time to talk, even for me, but the hour flew by quick.  The audience didn’t ask a lot of questions, ok just one question was asked but they nodded a lot so I think we have scored one point for “data peace.”

There were a lot of interesting topics at the conference, from how Google secures it Cloud to how tokenization can be used to protect sensitive data in a database.  There was something for everyone. I didn’t get to attend as many of the sessions as I would have liked.  However, I did get the opportunity to meet a few organizations that might benefit from data-aware technology in Vegas. They all had the same concern.  They were tasked with defining their companies’ data rules, detecting and alerting when the rules had been violated, and defending against such violations.  The DataGravity Discovery Series could help them with these objectives so the discussions were fun and lively.  These “frontline” discussions are where some of the best ideas and use cases come from, the people who are experiencing the joy of living in a data-driven world.


Paula Long

Paula Long is the CEO and co-founder of DataGravity. She previously co-founded storage provider EqualLogic, which was acquired by Dell for $1.4 billion in 2008. She remained at Dell as vice president of storage until 2010. Prior to EqualLogic, she served in engineering management positions at Allaire Corporation and oversaw the ClusterCATS product line at Bright Tiger Technologies. She is a graduate of Westfield State College.