Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: David H Deans, Pat Romanski, Janakiram MSV, Jnan Dash, Andreas Grabner

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Article

In the Rush to the Cloud, Don’t Forget About Data Governance

Migrations to the cloud are an extension of the operational perimeter of the business

Cloud computing has become an integrated part of IT strategy for companies in every sector of our economy. By 2012, IDC predicts that IT spending on cloud services will grow almost threefold to $42 billion. So it's no surprise that decision makers no longer wonder "if" they can benefit from cloud computing. Instead, the question being asked now is "how" best to leverage the cloud while keeping data and systems secure.

Data governance and compliance issues are typically the same whether information is in a private or public cloud environment or on-premise. That said, when organizations are considering moving business data to the cloud, a sound data governance approach must be in place to avoid costly data protection mistakes. At the heart of a sound data governance strategy is ensuring that only the right users have access to the right data at all times.

While the economic advantages of the cloud are compelling (the ability to quickly expand infrastructure to meet demand, low usage-based pricing and near infinite scalability), many organizations have yet to master data governance of their existing, in-house infrastructure. It's a bit like putting the cart before the horse. Against that backdrop, it should come as no surprise that cloud services can actually exacerbate existing data management and protection issues, adding a host of new concerns:

  • How do I enforce existing security policies and procedures when my data is in the cloud?
  • If my cloud provider is sued, can the suing party get access to my data?
  • How do I get access to full reporting that I need for my IT governance and compliance responsibilities?
  • How do I know what other data is in my cloud?
  • How do I know if my cloud is secure?
  • How do I automate access rights management in the cloud?

The Data Deluge Dilemma
Organizations have more digital data than ever before that must be continuously managed and protected in order for it to remain safe and retain its value. While data governance is often thought of more as a discipline than a technology, software can help companies implement data governance policies through automation, without disrupting existing business processes.

Concern about data governance has increased substantially over the past two decades, driven by the rapid growth in digital collaboration and an exponential increase in the amount of data that is created, shared, streamed and stored. Organizations now possess increasingly more information about their customers and partners - whether it's stored in a cloud environment or not - and failure to protect this data can be damaging. Partners and customers expect their information will be consistently protected before conducting business with a company. Therein lies the need for comprehensive data governance to manage and protect critical data, which has become a key issue for the cloud.

For years, IT has worked at capacity to manage and protect data manually as best it could - responding to authorization requests, migrating data, and cleaning up excessive access. Yet, despite this effort, IT has been falling further and further behind for the past 15 years. There is simply too much data being created too quickly to manage, protect and realize its full value without continuous, up-to-date information about the data: metadata.

Put simply, metadata is data about the data you hold in your organization. Use and analysis of metadata is already more common than we realize, and automated collection, storage, analysis and presentation of metadata will become a necessity not only for in-house data stores, but for cloud infrastructure as well.

Metadata frameworks for data governance from companies like Varonis non-intrusively collect critical information, generate metadata where existing metadata is lacking (e.g., file system filters and content inspection technologies), pre-process it, normalize it, analyze it, store it, and present it to IT administrators in an interactive, dynamic interface. Once data owners are identified, they are empowered to make informed authorization and permissions maintenance decisions through a web-based interface. In addition, data owners can do all of this on their own without IT overhead or manual back-end processes.

Those organizations that have learned to harness metadata to underpin their data governance practices will have a far greater chance of a extending those management and protection capabilities to the cloud, assuming that the cloud providers are equally metadata-capable.

Due Diligence in the Cloud
To coin a phrase from John Walker, Professor of Science & Technology, School of Computing & Informatics and member of ISACA Security Advisory Group: "You are not merely buying a cloud, you are choosing a partner and that choice has to be based on thorough due diligence. This process is essential. The most important barrier to the adoption of cloud computing is assurance - ‘how do I know if it's safe to trust the cloud provider?' With today's complex IT architectures and heavy reliance upon third-party providers, there has never been a greater demand for transparency and objective metrics for attestation."

Migrations to the cloud are an extension of the operational perimeter of the business. It is a partnership that joins on-premise business objects with those located in the extended perimeter of the cloud. Both are subject to the same access controls and policies. Any approach to utilize the cloud must be achieved in tandem with organizational controls to create a robust, contractually obligated partnership between client and provider - nothing short of this should be considered secure.

There is an urgent need to address security and compliance challenges associated with an organization's cloud initiatives. IDC research has found that security and compliance are among the top three challenges to cloud computing. Without adequate information on the security and compliance profile of the data, including its ownership, access controls, audits and classification, cloud initiatives can fall short of expectations and put sensitive data at risk. Understanding the data owners, authorized users and user activity is critical to garnering organizational input, which in turn, is critical to defining the security and compliance profile of the data for your internal datacenter and the cloud. CFOs and CIOs are hesitant, IDC says, to move critical data and processes into the cloud when there is still little visibility on access and ownership, traceability and data segregation. It is vital that organizations have data governance in order to provide secure collaboration and data protection for their customers, partners and employees. Without it, companies will find it virtually impossible to manage and protect digital information in the cloud or anywhere else.

More Stories By Wendy Yale

Wendy Yale leads marketing and brand development for Varonis’ global growth efforts. She is a veteran brand strategist with 16 years of marketing experience. Prior to Varonis, Wendy successfully managed the global integrated marketing communications team at Symantec. She joined Symantec from VERITAS, where she led the interactive media marketing team. Beginning her career as a freelance producer and writer, she has developed projects for organizations such as the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Film and Video Magazine, Aloha Airlines, the International Teleproduction Society and Unitel Video. Wendy has held senior posts at DMEC and ReplayTV, and holds a B.A. degree in Geography from Cal State Northridge. You can contact Wendy at [email protected]

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, CTO and founder of Striim, will delve into four enterprise-scale, business-critical case studies where streaming analytics serves as the key to enabling real-time data integration and right-time insights in hybrid cloud, IoT, and fog computing environments. As part of this discussion, he will also present a demo based on its partnership with Fujitsu, highlighting their technologies in a healthcare IoT use-case. The demo showcases the tracking of patie...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business. Though, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected with a majority of IoT projects having failed. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief IoTologist at Wipro, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology portfolios and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will delve in...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.