Business Intelligence Strategy

Business Intelligence Strategy
Would you trust AI to run your business operations or data center?

Top Answer : From a business standpoint, if you think about automation, look at data centers right now. There's still a lot of manual work in data centers because people don't trust software automation, even the basics where we have that automation in so many other layers in the stack. Everybody's worried about it because of the mission critical nature of the data center. I think it's a psychological thing we have to get over, not believing that it's tried and true, that it's going to work and be consistent, etc. It's going to take a while to get there, unless there's a forcing function, which will be cutting costs. If you need to cut costs, you'll figure out other ways to do the work with fewer people and more automation. AI can give you the ability to scale from one to thousands of support agents immediately because the digital colleagues can handle it. Same kind of thing within the infrastructure. I would trust a machine more than a human, because all of my outages and infrastructure issues have resulted from humans making a mistake. That's just the nature of human cognitive ability: people get tired and may not follow processes, but machines don't do that. I would say I would trust AI more than I would trust the majority of humans that are doing things inside of infrastructure.

What are your thoughts on SaaS management platforms (SMP)?

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Do you think most organizations consider the data pyramid in their business intelligence strategies?

Top Answer : I used to be at a company where they never deleted anything. They had all the data they ever created and none of it was particularly useful. There was a lack of data integrity, lack of ownership and governance around it. No data warehouse. Point solutions on reporting all over the place. I think I counted 7 or 8 different reporting solutions. It's that age-old question: you've got data, but is it information? Is it actionable? Is it useful? Part of my background is manufacturing, and in that space, there’s the operation technology side which grabs data from all the production machinery. Those are small, tiny bits of data, but without added context, they’re meaningless. Without information about time, place, which machine it came from, what product was being produced, etc., it's useless. The same is true in all the business information that we have. Unless you have real context related to that business information it's useless.

Will the increasing ethical complexities of data protection make it harder for IT to operate at the speed of the business?

Top Answer : When it comes to ethics and how we protect data at the code level, it's a totally different mindset now. I can't move at the speed of the business. Looking at access to the systems solely from the human perspective is just wrong. Last year, our whole cyber defense testing model was all about defending data in the middle of a contaminated container. This year, we're going to continue that concept and add a compromised virtual private network (VPC) layer, plus issues with our API connections from a poorly configured solution.  Ethically, if I'm responsible for being able to track the integrity, availability and confidentiality of the data, I now have to look at it from both the human factor perspective and systems factor perspective. There are very few solutions that understand tracking ethical usage of data from the system identity out to the human being, it's always from a human being in.

Which Zero Trust solutions are most effective at protecting data at the enterprise level?

Top Answer : Another security concept here is the “Secure Access Service Edge” (SASE).  You purchase the entire remote access and security stack outside your own data centers. It’s particularly good for companies that are national or international because a large provider can provide those access points no matter where they are. We're used to the model of surrounding everything with a fortress, with remote access servers granting access at the edge, plus all the services needed to decide whether you let them in or not. The SASE concept is about buying that as a service and it fits in with Zero Trust. Instead of using your own bandwidth in and out of your company, a user’s remote access laptop would connect to the SASE provider (such as vendor Zscaler), and they do the authentication and security.  With Office 365, for example, user traffic can simply be routed directly to Microsoft, with no need to route that back to your own data centers. The SASE vendor needs a link to your Active Directory to authenticate users, but in some cases, if they're using email and SaaS, users are redirected out to the Internet from there, and their traffic may never even come back into to your “fortress” and your data center unless the user starts using an in-house application. Then only that traffic would come back to your fortress. If the user needs Office 365, just route them there. If they're going to some SaaS platform, just send them to where that’s hosted.  There’s no need to send user traffic back to company data centers at all unless they really need to come back there for it.  Oh, OK, it sounds like we’ll be discussing SASE technology in the next session!

How should we approach the problem of excessive data collection?

Top Answer : I started the idea of multi-tenancy for IoT, realistically multi-tenancy for data back in 2016. The basic idea is, we need to find the right way to get the maximum value out of the infrastructure we're building, and thereby not create even more sets of data about the same stuff. I have no idea if this is even possible, but I've used a similar model for infrastructure design and build in the past. What if you could work with manufacturers from an application standpoint to define data value prioritization and retention models that applied to specific operational environments like shop floor or manufacturing machines, to where you could apply a policy that could be defined for you. While it sounds great, the reason I think it would never work is that there's never been a time where somebody has said, "Well, can you be 100% certain that I'll never want to go back and look at that data?