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)

FOIA Making Us Stronger

To commemorate 46 years since the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed on July 4, 1966, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) came out with a infographic showing the significant progress that has been made in government transparency and areas they still see for possible improvement.

Similarly, Government Executive Magazine ran an feature article in June 2012 called “The Truth Behind Transparency,” calling progress with open government as “tough to gauge.”

The basic idea of FOIA as the website for Sunshine Week put it is: “the public’s right to know about its government.”

Obviously, as GovExec points out, one of the main questions over the years with FOIA is “how quickly and fully do agencies respond to FOIA requests?”

To much and too soon, and do you perhaps put at risk various sensitive information, jeopardizing elements of the functioning of government itself?

Too little and too late, and then is the opportunity for mismanagement, waste, fraud, and abuse simply an after fact?

As Beth Novek, former deputy chief technology officer for open government, described it, open government is a “shorthand for open innovation or the idea that working in a transparent, participatory, and collaborative fashion helps improve performance, inform decision-making, encourage entrepreneurship and solve problems more effectively.”

Transparency can aid in accountability by shedding a light on leadership and its performance management. It can also be a great opportunity to bring new ideas and opinions to the fold, perhaps leading to better decisions and results, at the end of the day, for all.

The challenge for government is to guard against any information risks to the safety and security of our nation.

An informed nation, is a stronger nation–to me, it is a foundation of a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Government and the people working together, duly informed, to confront our toughest challenges and solve our greatest problems.