It’s that time of year again—reruns of It’s a Wonderful Life (or The Lord of the Rings), comfy chairs in front of a blazing fire, libations and cheer, and when we start to consider what’s around the corner for us next year. This time we’re avoiding the long shopping list of predictions for a few pithy ones that you might actually remember. (We’re sure you haven’t forgotten our list of forty things that 2011 would bring and we’re not going to remind you because of course they all happened).
Secure Collaboration will go viral
Data will continue to grow at 50% year over year and digital collaboration will continue to be the core of every business process. 2012 will be the year data owners get involved – they will take back access control decisions from IT, and demand automation to analyze data, make better decisions, and eliminate costly, ineffective manual processes.
Organizations will realize that continuing on the current path will have devastating results for their businesses. Infrastructure must be refreshed periodically (convergence is the trend—small, distributed servers are consolidated into fewer, larger, centralized ones), and organizations will soon realize that without intelligence, moving data quickly and safely is difficult or impossible. The wrong data will be moved, the wrong people will have access, and data owners will be needed. Every decision about managing and protecting data will be difficult without adequate context and automation, and the right people will be needed to make these decisions.
We regularly work with organizations with 10-100,000 plus shares for which they need to identify data owners. In 2012 organizations are going to find it even harder to identify owners, and to make any data management and protection decisions without harnessing the power of metadata. If they don’t know who this “stuff” belongs to it’s just going to grow indefinitely, and will be perpetually at risk. It’s dawning on them that they can’t afford it.
Big Data analytics will expand its focus to the biggest data of all—unstructured information sitting on file servers, NAS devices, and in email systems
Effective data governance requires harnessing the power of metadata through intelligent automation. It is not surprising that industry experts are now saying that the same kind of automation is necessary for more than good governance.
In order to harness the power of “Big Data,” you’ll need to analyze and look for patterns in how and when these massive amounts of data are used, who uses it, in what sequence, and what it contains in order to effectively run a data-driven organization. Widely known fact: the majority of big data in the enterprise is unstructured versus structured.
Organizations will start keeping track of their assets through automation and we will see some IT departments taking drastic measures, such as shutting down “at risk” servers or access to e-mail if the proper audit trails are not in place
In a recent high profile case, one organization used our software to catch an infiltrator who was operating as a contractor within their firewall. This had enormous implications for the IT security of that organization. If they had not found the suspected hacker when they did who knows what damage could have been done. This individual is now out of their system— and in the justice system.
2012 may be the year servers get shut down and email withdrawn if there is no audit trail. If you couldn’t audit your bank account, you’d want to freeze it until you could—it’s now the same with data. We will see some IT departments take drastic measures, such as shutting down unaudited, “at risk,” servers or access to e-mail if the proper audit trails are not in place. Organizations will start keeping better track of their digital assets through automation
Internal threats will still be a major worry for corporates in 2012 despite the demise of WikiLeaks
In many of the security breaches in 2011, employees or contractors were able to delete or download thousands of files without raising concerns because often no one was able to determine what sensitive data they had access to and secure it before information could be stolen, view an audit trail of what they actually did access after the fact, and certainly not hear any alarms go off while the breach was in progress, when access activity was unusual.
Much of the data accessed and leaked in recent breaches was composed of unstructured or semi-structured data – documents, spreadsheets, images, presentations, video and more – that resided on file shares accessible throughout organizations.
Download the full Varonis Top Predictions for Data Governance in 2012 White Paper here