FountainBlue’s May 11 High Tech Entrepreneurs’ Forum was on the topic of Trends in Storage and Security Innovations. The notes below are from the conversation with our two panels – see below for speaker list.
We were fortunate to have such a wide range of panelists looking through from different slices of the storage and security issues, and articulately sharing their direct experiences and perspectives as well as their thoughts on trends and directions. Some of the big-picture take-aways included:
• The genie is out of the bottle. It’s not a matter of whether you allow users within or outside a company to gather huge volumes of data, host it on a cloud, network devices and appliances, etc. It’s a matter of accepting that this is happening and will continue to happen at a more accelerated rate, and encouraging everyone to best manage accordingly by putting together processes and procedures, educating the users, and dealing with issues immediately as they arise.
• The cloud is here to stay, and will be more pervasive. Storage, hardware, software and other solutions will be better managed and more secure on the cloud, and the cloud will be an integral part of the evolution of technology. It is already a given, not a debate. The question is where will it go from here?
• Those who serve customers best and most efficiently will win. There are many factors leading to the proliferation of big data – from social media to the millennial generation to the predictive analysis needs of advertisers, to the number of devices per person etc. Those who don’t fight the data explosion reality, and work with it to better serve and protect users will continue to grow.
• It’s all about the user. You could build these great technology solutions, have the best plans, policies and mandates, have great laws with consequences, etc., but the human factor, the choices each individual user makes around storage and security will determine how secure and available her/his data, and that of the network is.
• Work with an IT team (as customers, partners or staff), who accepts the realities about data proliferation and the data-access and security needs of the user. Even though the network borders are essentially gone, and control is an illusion, the next generation IT directors will get a sense of their assets from a service perspective and understand that the basic network and application hygiene is even more important and foundational. They will work with you to build resilience inside your environment and educate your people.
• It will take a collaboration of government, corporations, users and customers to develop storage and security management standards and solutions which would address our customers’ need for data real-time and the security and privacy of these same customers.
There was a repeated theme about the huge volume of big data out there, and how it is tied to the need for both privacy and security. As FaceBook CEO Mark Zuckerman said, ‘one is just the other side of the coin for the other, you can’t have just one.’ So here are some suggestions from the panelists for proactively managing that balance:
• Accept that users will want to have freedom to do what they want with the tools that they want, within and outside work, and plan your storage and security optimization goals accordingly.
• Have standards and policies in place for what hardware and software is acceptable and track and monitor who is doing what within the network.
• Educate your users about ways they can potentially compromise your network or systems.
• Know what your assets are and what needs to be protected and set up systems and processes which would alert you quickly should these assets be in any way threatened and respond quickly to these alerts.
• Think not just that data *might* get onto the cloud, but that it will likely get there, whether or not corporate policies approve it. Work with your users to do it elegantly so you best manage risk, and best plan for scalability.
• People have already accepted that there are volumes of data of different formats which are difficult to process and analyze. The next story will be how fast can you get the data, and how much will it cost to get it? Those who can efficiently deliver this to the most niche customers will win.
• Work with the policies of each individual government, which has real borders, and work to develop international standards for data storage and security.
Here are some panelist thoughts on the huge opportunities ahead for managing storage and security.
• The rapid increase in big data leads to huge opportunities for those who can turn the data into actionable information which would help better serve niche customers.
• The sheer volume of devices out there and the volume of data generated from it will create a huge opportunity for data security, data management, cloud, device and other solutions.
• The types and numbers of viruses have risen exponentially in alignment with the volume of data. It has gone from the hacker-stage where someone creates viruses for personal gratification/fun/notoriety to computer-generated viruses with real revenue models. Therefore, there will be an ever-increasing need for solutions that would manage and minimize the risks of viruses, especially those which can go beyond signatures on individual desktops. These next-generation solutions may involve light-weight components and software with the heavy lifting done on the cloud rather than more traditionally on the local server.
• Understand not just the technology but also have the storage and security technology helps your customers meet their customers’ needs and fit within overall market trends.
• Speak in terms of the productivity of your employees. Storage and security issues can bring networks and companies to their needs, so speak specifically about how your company minimizes that risk.
• Identify a need and design your product specs based on that need and engage a customer base in creating and improving the solutions you offer to them.
• Seamlessly address storage and security issues with a clean user interface that makes users feel protected, within putting them through a gamut of validation and approval screens for things better done behind-the-scenes.
Below are some thoughts and questions for entrepreneurs in this space:
• Think of technology as a necessary safety belt to manage security, but don’t see it as the end-all solution, but how the customer/user leverages that technology will determine how useful it is.
• Communicate to customers, partners, and others based on real data and information, ROI and results.
• Partner with corporates who might be interested in your technology play, might want a longer-term strategic control point, or who might want to round-out portfolio. They are potential customers, investors, partners, channels or acquirers for you. Build your case, build your relationship, but persistent, charming, competent, connected etc., and also see how you can add value to their over value chain beyond what you do as a company, what your class of offerings are to extend to what your partners, customers and others can offer to the same relationship.
• Data might become more vertically focused with deeper knowledge of more niche customers. What are the implications on business models and solutions?
• There will be proliferation of public cloud, and also more private, and even hybrid clouds. Why would customers use each one, and how can you deliver efficient, individually-defined access to each real-time?
• Solve the identity challenge to maximize both the legitimate access of targeted information while thwarting the desire of others to compromise security and privacy.
• What are the next generation mobile devices, and the needs of users to have all their devices work together on a cloud network with full access, but only to those with permission?
• What is the next generation of analytics which looks beyond the surface connections between information that can connect classes of thoughts and data without analyzing deeply, and what are the implications if you could do a rapid-sort of data?
• How will storage and security solutions serve the needs of governments, security officers, secret service, etc.?
• What is the opportunity around authenticating and validating the claims of cloud service providers?
• Storage and security are recession-proof, you have to have it in all economic seasons! But during an uptick, you might think more about longer-term views. What are the implications for hot new solutions as the economy returns? Hint: think in terms of ROI and OPx (not just annually, but perhaps even monthly) rather than CAPx when selling to the customer.
The bottom line is that there will be opportunities where security and storage come together, where we could get access to the most relevant information real-time, without compromising our security or our privacy. The trick is what does that look like, and how will it better serve our customers?
Our corporate panel featured:
Facilitator Sheri Osborn, MineSeeker
Panelist Jay Chitnis, Director, Business Development & Alliances, Isilon Systems
Panelist Gerhard Eschelbeck, CTO, WebRoot
Panelist Nasrin Rezai, Senior Director, Information Security, Cisco
Panelist Prasenjit Sarkar, Research Staff Member and Master Inventor, IBM Almaden Research Center
Our entrepreneurial panel featured:
Facilitator Sandy Orlando, VP Marketing, IP Infusion
Panelist Tyler Bengston, Director of Product Management, IronKey (secure thumb drives)
Panelist Brian Bulkowski, CEO & Founder, Citrusleaf
Panelist Andrés Kohn, Vice President of Technology for Proofpoint (secure e-mailing and archiving)
Panelist Ryo Koyama, CEO, YOICS (remote computer and network management)
Please join us in thanking our speakers and our hosts at EMC.