A Mountain Of Data

Turtle .jpeg

So I heard this interesting perspective on information and data analytics…


Basically, it comes down to this: 

“Most organizations are data rich, but information/insight poor.”


Or put another way:

“Data is collected, but not used.”


Hence we don’t know what we don’t know and we end up making bad decisions based on poor information. 


Just imagine if we could actually make sense of all the data points, connect them, visualize them, and get good information from them.


How much better than a pile of rocks is that? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Data 4 Ransom

Data 4 Ransom

The future of cybercrime will soon become the almost routine taking of your personal and corporate data as hostage. 


Once the hacker has control of it, with or without exfiltration, they will attach malware to it–like a ticking time bomb.


A simple threat will follow:


“I have your data. Either you pay for your data back unharmed OR your data will become vaporware! You have one hour to decide. If you call the authorities, you data is history.”


So how valuable is your data to you?  


– Your personal information–financial, medical, legal, sentimental things, etc.


– Your corporate information–proprietary trade secrets, customer lists, employee data, more.


How long would it take you to reconstitute if it’s destroyed?  How about if instead it’s sold and used for identity theft or to copy your “secret sauce” (i.e. competitive advantage) or maybe even to surpass you in the marketplace? 


Data is not just inert…it is alive!


Data is not just valuable…often it’s invaluable!


Exposed in our networks or the cloud, data is at risk of theft, distortion, or even ultimate destruction. 


When the time comes, how much will you pay to save your data?


(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

Data Like Clouds

Cloud Security
So data is like clouds…



Clouds want to be free roaming the wild blue skies similar to how data wants to be searchable, accessible, useful, and so on. 



But with data, like clouds, when it rains it pours–and when data blows about with the windstorm and is compromised in terms of security or privacy, then we not only come away wet but very uncomfortable and unhappy. 



Then, as we actually end up putting our data in the great computing clouds of the likes of Amazon, iCloud, HP, and more, the data is just within arm’s reach of the nearest smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. 



But just as we aspire to reach to the clouds–and get to our data–other less scrupled (cyber criminals, terrorists, and nation states)–seek to grab some of those oh so soft, white cloud data too.



While you may want to lock your data cloud in a highly secure double vault, unfortunately, you won’t be able to still get to it quickly and easily…it’s a trade-off between security and accessibility. 



And leaving the doors wide open doesn’t work either, because then no one even needs an (encryption) key to get in. 



So that’s our dilemma–open data, but secured storage–white, soft, beautiful clouds wisping overhead, but not raining data on our organizational and personal parades. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Challenging The Dunbar 150

Kids

Today, Facebook announced it’s new search tool called Graph Search for locating information on people, places, interests, photos, music, restaurants, and more. 

Graph Search is still in beta, so you have to sign up in Facebook to get on the waiting list to use it. 

But Facebook is throwing down the gauntlet to Google by using natural language queries to search by just asking the question in plain language like: “my friends that like Rocky” and up comes those smart ladies and gents. 

But Graph Search is not just a challenge to Google, but to other social media tools and recommendation engines like Yelp and Foursquare, and even LinkedIn, which is now widely used for corporate recruiting. 

Graph Search uses the Bing search engine and it’s secret sauce according to CNN is that is culls information from over 1 billion Facebook accounts, 24 billion photos, and 1 trillion connections–so there is an enormous and growing database to pull from. 

So while the average Facebook user has about 190 connections, some people have as many as 5,000 and like the now antiquated business card file or Rolodex, all the people in your social network can provide important opportunities to learn and share. And while in the aggregate six degrees of separation, none of us are too far removed from everyone else anyway, we can still only Graph Search people and content in our network.

Interestingly enough, while Facebook rolls out Graph Search to try to capitalize on its treasure trove personal data and seemingly infinite connections, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (10 January 2013) ran an article called “The Dunbar Number” about how the human brain can only handle up to “150 meaningful relationships.”

Whether hunter-gather clans, military units, corporate divisions, or an individual’s network of family, friends, and colleagues–our brain “has limits” and 150 is it when it comes to substantial real world or virtual relationships–our brains have to process all the facets involved in social interactions from working together against outside “predators” to guarding against “bullies and cheats” from within the network. 

According to Dunbar, digital technologies like the Internet and social media, while enabling people to grow their virtual Rolodex, does not really increase our social relationships in the real meaning of the word. 

So with Graph Search, while you can mine your network for great talent, interesting places to visit, or restaurants to eat at, you are still fundamentally interacting with your core 150 when it comes to sharing the joys and challenges of everyday life. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Information High

Kids_and_technology

A new article by Andy Blumenthal called “The Information High” at Public CIO Magazine (29 November 2012).

“In addition to being slaves to our things–including technology gadgets–we are also addicted to the data and information they serve up.”

Hope you enjoy! 😉

Andy

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

In The Year 2032 And Beyond

Trends help us to see where things are coming from and potentially where they are going.

There is a Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast for 2010-2015 that projects global IP traffic (voice, video, and data) and the numbers are ginormous!

Here are some highlights from their highlights for where we will be in only 3 years–by 2015:

Annual global IP traffic will reach one zettabyte (which is about 100 million x all printed material in the U.S. Library of Congress (which is 10 terabytes)).

Devices connected to the network will be 2 for 1 for every person on this planet (and many people who live in 3rd world conditions do not have any devices, so what does that say for how many devices the rest of us have?).

Non-PC traffic (from TVs, tablets, smartphones, more) will reach 15% and is more than doubling every year (makes you think about when you fridge and toaster are going to be connected to the Internet).

Mobile Data traffic is practically doubling (or 92%) annually meaning a growth of 2,600% over 5 years (and according to the New York Times (5 Jan 2012) “The Top 1% of Mobile Users Consume Half of The World’s Bandwidth” and the top 10% of users consume 90%!).

Video traffic (TV, Video on Demand, Peer to Peer, etc.) will be almost 2/3 (or 62%) of all consumer internet traffic (and services like YouTube, Skype, FaceTime, Hulu are WebEx all play a role as we want to see as much or more than hear what is going on).

The takeaway for me from all this is that truly information transmission is exploding over the Internet, and we will continue to need more advanced technologies to “pipe” it all to where its going and do it faster than ever.

However to build on these forecasts, over the longer term (further out in time, so more risky, of course)–say 20 years or so–some of my colleagues and I studying at National Defense University project the following:

Rather than transmitting voice, video, and data over the Internet, we will be focused on transmitting thoughts (mental activity rather than spoken) and transmitting matter (like the Transporter on Star Trek).

– Transmission of thoughts will occur in real-time, through persistent connections, probably implants in teeth, glasses, subcutaneous, etc.

Safety and health will be monitored through these same “connections” and medicine or other physiological treatments for routine things will be administered remotely through the same.

Education will be through instantaneous zaps of information to your brain (like in The Matrix) from a universal database, rather than through traditional in-class or online courses.

– Like now, the contextual policy and legal issues will be around privacy and security–and you will need to pay dutifully for each in a world where not only what you say and do, but rather what you think, can get you in lots of trouble.

Okay, for these things to happen by 2032 is probably a little aggressive, but don’t rule any of them out over time.  😉

Dashboarding The Information Waves

I had an opportunity to view a demo of a dashboarding product from Edge called AppBoard, and while this is nota vendor or product endorsement, I think it is a good example to briefly talk about these types of capabilities.Dashboard products enable us to pull from multiple data sources, make associations, see trends, identify exceptions, and get alerts when there are problems.

Some of the things that I look for in dashboard tools are the following:

– Ease of use of connecting to data

– Ability to integrate multiple stovepiped databases

– A variety of graphs, charts, tables, and diagrams to visualize the information

– Use of widgets to automatically manipulate the data and create standardized displays

– Drag and drop ability to organize the dashboard in any way you like to see it

– Drill down to get more information on the fly

While there are many tools to consider that provide dashboards, information visualization, and business intelligence, I think one of the most important aspects of these is that they be user-centric and easy to implement and customize for the organization and its mission.

When making critical decisions (especially those involving life and death) and when time is of the essence–we need tools that can be can be easily navigated and manipulated to get the right information and make a good decision, quickly.

As a fan of information visualization tools, I appreciate tools like this that can help us get our arms around the “information overload” out there, and I hope you do too.(All Opinions my own)