Big data…meet big government

What are the considerations for multinational companies confronting country-specific regulation in today's data-driven environment

Big Data Government

Businesses need to balance remaining agile and responsive with the need to implement robust security, data protection and data backup policies

 

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), “Over the next three years, Digital Transformation will reshape the entire macro-economy, as the majority of global business’ revenue centers around digital or digitally-enhanced products and services.”

Customer-centricity lies at the heart of such a reshaping as businesses seek to provide enhanced mobility, personalisation, and interactivity while continuing to combat an increasingly complex web of risk and compliance challenges.

As businesses innovate to provide new and more secure experiences, so must the underlying technology infrastructure evolve to support and make useful the treasure-trove of data produced and consumed by these new customer and security-related applications.

>See also: The UK government needs to take advantage of data’s golden age

And technology manufacturers are keeping pace, reinventing themselves to capture the opportunities presented by big data. Just this month, Cisco announced its next-generation suite of products unsurprisingly focused on the real-time capture, processing, and the reincorporation of insights based on network data flows.

The new data-focused infrastructure benefits from a shared and flexible set of networking resources spanning countries and, often, continents. Google processes an average of 40 million searches per second – that’s 1.2 trillion searches per year – Internet Live Stats reports. Google’s infrastructure is spread across 15 data center’s on four continents to make the searches fast enough to meet their customers expectations.

While new products and customer experiences can be deployed and enjoyed globally, consumers become citizens when demanding rights and privacy, looking to their governments to provide country-specific protections through laws and regulation.

When personal data must be shared to consume a product or a service, consumers want to know where their data is stored, who has access to it, and how it can be used. Ushered into the spotlight by recent headline security breaches and geopolitical events such as Brexit, big data and the infrastructure on which it lives must now begin to identify and incorporate country borders into its operations and governance.

>See also: How to protect your big data idea

As companies grapple to strike the right balance between innovative customer experiences and the legal and ethical boundaries created by privacy concerns, they should consider the technological, regulatory, and operational components of the maturing data sovereignty landscape:

Technology

1. Companies must pay attention to encrypting their data, not only in transit but at rest and within the data centre.
2. Think twice before creating multiple copies of data. Fewer copies allows for more accurate tracking across the technology stack.
3. Leverage security automation to remove human error and drive consistency and timeliness around identifying and patching vulnerabilities.

Regulation

4. Develop an understanding of who will have access to data, where it will be shared out within a country and what regulations cover its sharing.
5. Organisations must comprehend which regulations they need to follow and have a contract that covers the data custodian-ship.

>See also: Big data, little Britain and nationalistic fever

6. With new regulations set to come into force with GDPR in May 2018, active data governance should be a key consideration for multinational companies, with certain types of organisation needing to appoint a Data Protection Officer

Operational

7. Businesses should ask themselves whether retaining the data helps the business in the first place, and what data should remain on-site and what can be stored in the cloud
8. Companies must consider how they will track their data and what tools they need to track data as it moves.
9. A pre-defined set of actions has to be in place for when the company receives a request to destroy a data point or a record.
10. Businesses need to balance remaining agile and responsive with the need to implement robust security, data protection and data backup policies.

Summary

The siren song of new technologies, new customer and business insights, and ever-more convenient ways of living and working is now being met with a loud cry for privacy and security driven by the need for transparency into the physical whereabouts of consumer data. Maintaining a resolute commitment to governing big data is no longer something that can be ignored.

 

Sourced by Neil Baillie, solutions architect, Hutchinson Networks

 

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