IBM Amplifies Focus on Data Governance with Cognitive Computing for GDPR Compliance

IBM is boosting its data governance and data science initiatives to help developers and analysts tap into the power of cognitive computing to gain greater understanding and control of their data, while improving their ability to comply with data regulations such as the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

As part of the enhancements, IBM announced new data governance solutions and tools, data science and machine learning advances, and the formation of the Open Data Governance Consortium for Apache Atlas, dedicated to advancing the open framework for data governance.

GDPR is a continent-wide set of requirements that will be put into effect by the EU on May 25, 2018. It is designed to protect its citizens’ personal information—any data “that can be used to directly or indirectly identify a person,” from a name to a post on social media. Organizations within or outside of Europe, that process or hold such personal data of EU citizens and fail to comply with GDPR will face extremely stiff financial penalties that will range from 4% of the organization’s annual global revenue to 20 million euros.

With such a dramatic technical change so imminent, IBM says, organizations across Europe, and around the world, are reviewing and considering solutions and processes that can help them better handle personal data and meet the requirements.

Exacerbating the compliance challenge is that organizations are amassing large stores of data and increasingly they want to put that data to work by helping more users get insights and drive business outcomes from their data, said Rob Thomas, general manager, IBM Analytics.

This desire to make data more broadly available puts a “huge premium” on data governance in terms of how to have a strategy that enables compliance with regulations like GDPR but also provides users with self-service access, said Thomas, noting there is a large gap in the market for compliance with GDPR.

While there are many point products and one-off capabilities that solve part of the compliance problem, Thomas said, IBM is delivering a data governance platform that incorporates everything required—from creating a catalog of data assets, to masking and archiving assets, and identifying the assets that are managed over the data lifecycle—to ensure GDPR compliance.

The IBM Unified Governance Software Platform is a new software platform comprising data management capabilities, including many specific to GDPR, such as cognitive metadata harvest, lineage tracking, policy enforcement, data integration services and persona-based reporting to help clients get up and running.

IBM is also launching Information Governance Catalog Download & Go – a new software download that lets clients download, install and run specific governance tools directly to their systems. The software complements the full, cloud-based version of the catalog.

In addition, GDPR for StoredIQ is a new version of the data visibility software that identifies the type of data residing on hard drives, updated to identify GDPR-related sensitive personal data for the first time. The upgrade makes it easier for organizations to understand the type of data they have, in order to take the necessary regulatory steps.

In other compliance-related moves, IBM has also expanded its data science and machine learning innovations across Europe, to give more global enterprises access to the tools needed to apply data intelligence to regulatory compliance. These include the launch of the IBM Data Science Experience (DSX) in its London data center. Now, data scientists in the UK and across Europe are able to use the collaborative environment to team up on analytic models that drive the creation of intelligent applications and generate data insights. Bringing DSX to the UK is aimed at helping organizations begin making more data-driven decisions, aid in regional data regulation compliance, and provide more robust system performance.

The launch of the Machine Learning Hub in Boblingen, Germany also presents an opportunity for companies in the region to collaborate with IBM on machine learning efforts with hands-on workshops. While many companies offer educational resources on emerging technologies, IBM says, the Machine Learning Hub puts theory into practice to identify solutions to data science challenges in machine learning. To date, Machine Learning Hub teams have workshopped a wide range of use cases, from patient diagnosis to fraud detection to customer segmentation.

IBM is also spearheading the launch of the Open Data Governance Consortium for Apache Atlas

Atlas is the Apache Foundation’s data governance framework for Hadoop, and the project is currently in Apache’s “incubator” phase of development. The Consortium comprises such international members as financial services leader, ING Group, Hadoop distribution provider, Hortonworks, and a dozen other members.