Data is driving the business; data-centric security is a necessity

More than a year ago the Economist published an influential special report analyzing the impact of big data on the business world.  Many examples were cited of the impact across all major industry segments.  In today’s business environment, in many cases, the data is the business.  At Voltage Security we see this most visibly in the payments sector of the financial services industry segment because of our many customer relationships in this area.  In emerging portions of this market, such as mobile payments, the use of big data generated as a result of the transaction process shapes the service as well as the business strategy of the participants in this market.

Big data also influences how new products and services in many other industry segments take shape.  Last week Amazon introduced the Fire tablet.  The media seemed primarily focused on the price point and the feature comparisons to the Apple iPad.  Perhaps more interesting was the Silk browser and the Amazon data center infrastructure supporting the user experience.  What Amazon has done with the services supporting the Fire is an example of building a business around big data (which is something that Amazon has understood from the outset). 

What they do is use their data center infrastructure to pre-cache the pages on their servers that may be browsed by users and provide an accelerated user experience by streaming content to the Silk browser.  In the process, they gather data about user behavior within not only the Amazon e-commerce environment, but also other e-commerce sites (such as Ebay).  This sort of visibility into consumer behavior is a merchant’s dream and of course is very attractive to advertisers.  Put more directly, Amazon knows the stores in which customers are shopping and what prices are being offered.  No wonder Jeff Bezos positioned the Fire more as a service than a device.  It’s ironic that the Fire device is built on top of Android while the net result of the overall service is to shift the data intermediation point from Google to Amazon.  In fact, Amazon also uses the Google developed SDPY networking protocol rather than HTTP to deliver web pages to the Silk browser.

The impact of a data on business extends beyond new services that are built around big data analytics.  Managing data effectively and efficiently across all areas of the business can have measurable financial results.  SAP/Sybase recently sponsored an effort by the University of Texas at Austin in which 150 Fortune 1000 organizations from every major industry segment were surveyed on the impact of data on key financial measures.  The findings are summarized in the following table showing the impact across several areas for the median Fortune 1000 business in the sample (36,000 employees and $388,000 revenue per employee).

Data_business_impact

These IT initiatives to improve data quality, accessibility, intelligence and usability can have a major impact on financial results.  Why aren’t more enterprises making this happen?  Often security, privacy and compliance stand in the way.  The business perceives too much risk and thus is not able to take advantage of the opportunity.

Voltage Security has been helping enterprises solve problems in both these areas by enabling IT and business teams build new services that depend on the use of big data, as well as generally become more effective in managing the security, privacy and compliance requirements that produce measurable improvement in key financial results associated with data management programs.

How we do this is illustrated in the figure below.

  Voltage_arch

The key concept is protection of data from end-to-end throughout the entire business process.  In this example, the “quote-to-cash” business process is used as an example.  Data is encrypted at the point of origin whether that is the customer service representative using a CRM application or business system generating transaction data.  A unique capability of the Voltage solution is the use of format preserving encryption (FPE) in order for the data to flow through downstream applications in the business process without cumbersome and time consuming modifications to these applications.

A further capability of the Voltage solution is the ability to integrate easily with enterprise authentication/authorization and policy management systems to ensure consistent enforcement of business and IT policy as systems and users access the data for relevant business purposes.

Lastly, to achieve the financial results promised by data management initiatives, the security, privacy and compliance solution available from Voltage handles the key management process in a highly scalable and operationally efficient manner.  This allows the IT organization to respond to the needs of the business and deliver the required results in terms of security, privacy and compliance.

When data drives the business, IT groups at leading organizations are producing better financial results for the business by using the Voltage Data Security platform to manage security, privacy and compliance.

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