The Intersection of Data Democratization and Security

Faster decision making enabled by access to role-appropriate information is the goal of organizations striving to become data-driven. At the same time, there is strong pressure on companies to ensure data quality and trustworthiness, as well as to maintain data security to avoid breaches and risk regulatory non-compliance.

The requirements for widespread data availability and the equally important issues surrounding data security and governance are addressed from a number of standpoints in this issue of Big Data Quarterly.

Data may be at the center of all digital engagements, but today, data use is too difficult, and decision makers often have limited insight into data-related problems or the benefits that can be accrued from investments, according to BDQ contributing editor Joe McKendrick who highlights new research from BARQ. The research notes that data producers need to understand the needs of data consumers, but, at the same time, data consumers must understand the requirements and restrictions of data production processes.

McKendrick also looks at the growth of multi-cloud deployments and the associated tools, technologies, and risks in his cover article. Using a variety of cloud platforms is a great way to ensure more services, but it takes some skill to get everything aligned, he notes.

Ways to improve data use are also considered from a range of perspectives by additional industry leaders. FICO’s Tim VanTassel looks at the challenges posed by the democratization of analytics and then provides a practitioner’s guide to analytic model development. Machine learning is useful, he emphasizes, but a combination of information, explainability, and wisdom is critical. In addition, data integration systems leverage semantic graphs and data virtualization to represent connectedness and unlock business value, observes Stardog’s Kendall Clark in an article on the new integration landscape. “Thanks in part to the pandemic, we realize more than ever that connected networks are everywhere and the data systems and data silos must be united as a result.”

Now is the time to shift the focus to people and processes, emphasizes DataKitchen’s Chris Bergh in an interview about the rise of DataOps. “You really have to make the team, with all the tools and all the data, work together.” The use of data and analytics is a team sport, not the result of individual acts of heroism, he states.

And in this issue, Radiant Advisors’ Lindy Ryan debuts her column series, “The Data-Enabled Organization,” making the case for greater recognition of the new data rock star: the business-oriented user. “An uneducated data user is a dangerous data user,” she observes. Collaboration enables the full value of digital transformation, adds Software AG’s Bart Schouw. Thinking of digital transformation as simply automating and integrating established interactions is not sufficient, he stresses. Real digital transformation turns your infrastructure into an infostructure.

Along with articles on how companies can better leverage their data through shifts in process and culture, the intertwined requirements for security and governance are also tackled in this issue.

LicenseFortress’ Michael Corey and VMware’s Don Sullivan look at the current data threat landscape and what companies should take into account, while NVIDIA’s Jim Scott writes about improved processes for insider threat detection with machine learning.

And finally, SAS’ Kimberly Nevala makes the point that it’s time to change how we think about data governance. Too often, it is thought of as a means to impose restrictions to achieve compliance or eliminate risk, but it’s important to remember that it improves the cadence and quality for organizations’ collective and individual decisions—whether as a a simple BI dashboard or a complicated AI algorithm.

We’ll continue to explore all these topics and more during the upcoming Data Summit conference, which will be held May 10–12, 2021. Overcoming travel and geography challenges, Data Summit Connect 2021 will be held virtually. For more information, go to


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