Getting a Real Handle on All the Data

    The lack of any real concrete approach to data managementis at the heart of numerous IT ills, ranging from security and compliance, all the way through to storage and cloud computing. The reason data management remains challenging is that IT organizations don’t really know who in the organization owns what data. As a result, they pretty much wind up treating all data equally, which is to say they process and store it. But that’s not the same thing as managing who has access to it and who has the right to make a copy of it.

    This is the core issue that Varonis Systems is trying to address with its Metadata Framework, which gives IT organizations an unobtrusive way of finding out what data belongs to whom across the enterprise. In fact, International Data Corp. (IDC) today issued a report highlighting the need for metadata approaches to manage the volumes of data that enterprise IT organizations are now choking on.

    David Gibson, director of technical services for Varonis, says the Varonis Metadata Framework makes it easy to identify which discrete sets of data are attached to what applications and, by extension, the owner of those applications. That may sound like a fundamentally obvious requirement, but it turns out to be one of those many IT things that are much easier to say than to actually do. Varonis accomplishes this by aggregating all the metadata about a specific data set in a nonintrusive way. The IT organization can then analyze that data to see where it originated from and then ask the application owner if it’s still needed.

    That simple act of data governance has a lot of important implications in a world where the amount of data that needs to be stored is spiraling out of control. A huge percentage of that data is not only redundant, notes Gibson, it’s not even being used. Armed with that knowledge, IT organizations can move that data to less expensive storage formats or archive it using a cloud computing service.

    Ulitmately, Gibson says the Varonis Metadata Framework will help IT organizations identify what data is most important from a business perspective, which then helps determine what level of security to apply and what information needs to be made available to any number of analytics applications.

    Of course, once that happens, an even more interesting phenomenon should finally occur as well. Instead of the data managing the IT department, the IT organization can finally manage the data.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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