This past May, I was one of three panelists on the “10 Things You Need to Know about Data & Data Infrastructure” panel at the Interop ITX conference in Las Vegas, which offered a full IT stack of tracks covering infrastructure, cloud, security, data & analytics, DevOps, and leadership development.
I thought I’d share a sampling of the discussion and some of the more interesting points that came up:
The first question from the moderator was about Big Data – Is it hype or is it real? I really liked a co-panelist’s response as it highlighted an assumption I think many people make (well, me anyway). His response was along the lines of “it’s hype – the data does not matter – what matters is the insights you get from it.” In other words, data is not information – there’s an important difference. I appreciated the call out because it’s worth making that distinction – don’t assume everyone does.
The audience had a number of different perspectives here based on their real-world situations. The consensus that emerged which I found interesting related to how ineffective various regulatory practices are around data and data security. The reality, for example, that particular data must be physically contained within a particular country’s borders. The idea that data is “more secure” by virtue of its physical location (in a data center in the EU vs. in the cloud, for example) doesn’t make practical sense. A lot of complexity is generated by this type of thinking, for very little gain in terms of actual security.
Democratization of Data
Great conversation on this topic. I really appreciated an anecdote shared by a co-panelist. His story illustrated that sometimes, the more an IT organization attempts to restrict access to data, the more unintended consequences they can generate. The example involved an IT organization that put tight controls on access to data that the IT organization felt was sensitive, but that business users felt was critical for them to do their jobs. The business users circumvented the access restrictions by cultivating as mole inside the IT organization and getting the data fed to them via a flash drive that they all then passed around. In an effort to enforce tight governance, the IT organization had inadvertently created a situation where governance pretty much went out the window – they would have been better off providing well curated access vs. tight restrictions.
All around it was a lively and interesting discussion with a great moderator and an engaged and interesting audience. Looks like they’re already set for next year – check it out here: http://www.interop.com/