Big Data & Predictive Analytics – Get Involved

Audie Hittle

Audie Hittle

Federal CTO, Emerging Technologies Division, EMC Corporation

I recently participated in the AIE TTC Big Data and Predictive Analytics Symposium, and shared my thoughts on “Mitigating Cybersecurity Operations Risk – Leveraging Intelligent Data Storage,” immediately following keynote speaker, Dr. Jason Matheny, Director, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA).

Dr. Matheny discussed his organization’s perspectives, investment approach, and latest initiatives – delineating plenty of opportunities for companies like EMC to proactively get involved with proposing or teaming on leading-edge projects that in some cases transition directly into Federal operations.

Keynote speaker Rear Admiral Paul Becker, Special Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, kicked-off the event with an insightful Big Data discussion. He connected the dots on how Big Data supports the Naval Intelligence mission, and touched on the urgent need for Big Data analytics to help make sense of all the data. He also emphasized the importance of predictive analytics – being able to anticipate what will happen, versus simply having analytics that confirm what has happened, is critical for Federal agencies.

He stated that a major challenge with Big Data analytics in the intelligence community is that the volume of data can skew and distort the assessment by emphasizing collection and analysis on the most visible versus the most important data – a key distinction.

Colonel Linda Jantzen, Acting Director, Army CIO/G6 Architecture and Integration Center, highlighted the mission critical aspects of detection and resolution of cyber threats. Working with the intelligence community on Big Data integration, human capital modeling and simulation, and suicide prevention, she covered a wide spectrum of Big Data and analytics applications. This echoed what I heard when I recently met with the U.S. Air Force CIO, Lieutenant General Bill Bender, regarding the emphasis on cybersecurity, the importance of the “data lake” for eliminating data silos, and the emphasis on Big Data analytics to support nearly all operations and services.

Additional government and industry guest speakers from distinguished organizations were in attendance; including the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), USAF Distributed Common Ground Systems (DCGS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). Each delivered insightful overviews and passionate pleas for assistance from industry.

These Federal organizations highlighted the needs and opportunities for Big Data and analytics applications, and opened their doors for engagements directly with industry for a dialogue to explore.

The bottom line? There are many opportunities ahead for public/private collaboration, and working together will accelerate new ideas, new solutions, and new ways to use data to achieve a mission advantage.

Team FITARA – Will IT Make the Grade? Will You?

Barry Morris

Barry Morris

Vice President, EMC Federal Division
Barry Morris, Vice President of EMC’s Federal Division, is responsible for general division management, providing leadership and vision to the Federal team, government contractors and partners, and Federal systems integrators. In this role, he is dedicated to helping agencies redefine IT in a more agile, trusted, and cost-efficient way. Morris brings 30 years of experience driving sales to the Federal government, and expanding coverage into the state and local government, education, and medical markets.

FITARA’s second round of agency self-assessments is due at the end of this month. With the last scorecard showing much room for improvement, will agencies make the grade this time?

What’s still needed to help make FITARA successful? While CIOs are working to address governance and visibility issues internally, industry partners are considering how they can support the efforts with better tools and services.

Progress is going to take cooperation. If you remember, the final magical play of the NCAA championship game wasn’t just a great 3-pointer from a star player – it was all about the pass, the setup. A team effort, as is FITARA.

EMC’s Jean Edwards recently spoke at MeriTalk’s FITARA Forum. The panel discussed industry-government collaboration and how FITARA can drive real change across the Federal government.

Give Me An “A”

On the panel “Better Acquisition. Better Services. Lower Costs. What More?” Jean and industry colleagues discussed the acquisition components of FITARA – why they receive the least amount of attention, why acquisition challenges contribute to difficulty retaining IT talent – and the steps agencies should be taking as they make progress implementing FITARA guidance.

More specifically, Jean discussed the positive impact FITARA is bringing to Federal government. In fact, a recent study found positive FITARA feedback from Feds.

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FITARA gives CIOs increased authority – therefore, it is requiring individuals from industry and government to communicate. We live in a digital universe – with data growing 40% every year, it is critical for industry and government to work together. However, if this data isn’t shared or communicated properly, then it’s nearly impossible to solve issues together.

To make FITARA work, we must understand that it is not just the CIO’s responsibility. FITARA is a team sport. Every level must try to determine what the real challenges are, and simplify the processes as much as possible. Working together is the key to agency success.

Front and Center: The Encryption Debate

Barry Morris

Barry Morris

Vice President, EMC Federal Division
Barry Morris, Vice President of EMC’s Federal Division, is responsible for general division management, providing leadership and vision to the Federal team, government contractors and partners, and Federal systems integrators. In this role, he is dedicated to helping agencies redefine IT in a more agile, trusted, and cost-efficient way. Morris brings 30 years of experience driving sales to the Federal government, and expanding coverage into the state and local government, education, and medical markets.

This week, Amit Yoran, President, RSA, testified before the United States House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on an Oversight and Investigations hearing entitled, “Deciphering the Debate Over Encryption: Industry and Law Enforcement Perspectives.”

This is a complex issue – the hearing raised many important points. Law enforcement needs to be able to prosecute crimes, and on the other hand, we must preserve our nation’s security, privacy, and economic competitiveness.

Amit Yoran testified that creating “back doors” in all encryption is not only impossible to achieve, but it also would have the unintended consequence of fundamentally weakening the security of the Internet infrastructure we all rely on –  impacting both national security and public safety.

In his blog published this week, he wrote, “Good encryption is the fundamental building block for good cyber security; without the availability of good encryption, those defending vital U.S. networks and systems would be at a massive disadvantage. Exceptional access increases complexity and introduces new vulnerabilities we may have yet to fully understand.”

He also noted that the negative impacts of such a policy would affect tech companies, and every industry, including our critical infrastructure, power and utilities, automotive, manufacturing, healthcare, legal, banking, and financial industries.

We can’t look at this debate as a privacy vs. security question. We need both – and to move the discussion forward, we need continued collaboration between law enforcement and the technology community.

Please read Amit Yoran’s blog on the hearing and find a link to the testimony, here:  http://blogs.rsa.com/deciphering-the-debate-over-encryption/

The Innovation Runway

Audie Hittle

Audie Hittle

Federal CTO, Emerging Technologies Division, EMC Corporation

Cyber attacks are inevitable – and, according to a Data Protection Survey, public sector organizations are far more likely to suffer disruptions than commercial businesses. In fact, compared to any other sector, the public sector experiences more downtime – 37 hours as compared to 25 hours – and the longest recovery time – 12.43 hours as compared to 7.95 hours.

Agencies need real innovation to solve today’s cyber threats. In order to adapt to disruptions while maintaining current operations and protecting data, agencies need constant innovation to reach a resilient environment.

Security and Resiliency Awareness – Takeaways

I recently attended the AOC Cyber Summit at MITRE Corporation to discuss the cyber challenges facing U.S. and Allied Operations. This event included top-level keynote and panel presentations from across the U.S. Air Force, government, and industry to address topics such as: cyber threats, systems security engineering, cyber effects, and emerging technologies.

The event focused on cyber threats and operational capabilities – especially as cyber technology is thoroughly embedded into nearly everything designed, engineered, and sustained to be resilient to cyber attacks.

Some of my main takeaways from this event include:

  • “Cybersecurity resiliency is as important as the next weapon system,” — Mitch Miller, Chief Architect, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and Technical Advisor to Lieutenant General Thompson, AFLCMC Commander
  • “Fusion warfare is all about data access,” — Allen Kimball, ACC/A2 Technical Director for Major General Dash Jamieson, Air Combat Command
  • “We need the acquisition community building more resilient systems,” – Major General Burke Wilson, 24th Air Force, 624th and Joint Forces Cyber Commander
  • The need to leverage, “Cyberspace and Multi-domain Innovation Teams (CMIT),” — Brigadier General Peter Lambert, 25th Air Force Commander of cyber and ISR assets
  • “Connectivity is where major growth and backbone is, and where major change has occurred,” — Major General Scott Rice, Adjutant General, MA National Guard

Each of these themes represents areas where EMC, and specifically Isilon, can add value and contribute to mission-critical operations.

This event was insightful and valuable to all attendees – enabling the opportunity for discussion and interaction with senior cybersecurity, electronic warfare, and C4ISR leaders. In addition, my own research has documented how interaction stimulates innovation, and this type of smaller, focused forum certainly provided the opportunity for creating the innovation runway – “clear and ready for take-off.”

For more information about how your agency can create a resilient environment, check out Barry Morris’ blog post on the topic, “Modern Data Protection: Beyond Compliance.”

Learn more: eBook – Securing Tomorrow: The Road to Mission Resiliency

Hybrid Cloud – A Clear Path to a Modern Data Center

Barry Morris

Barry Morris

Vice President, EMC Federal Division
Barry Morris, Vice President of EMC’s Federal Division, is responsible for general division management, providing leadership and vision to the Federal team, government contractors and partners, and Federal systems integrators. In this role, he is dedicated to helping agencies redefine IT in a more agile, trusted, and cost-efficient way. Morris brings 30 years of experience driving sales to the Federal government, and expanding coverage into the state and local government, education, and medical markets.

EMC’s Audie Hittle recently spoke alongside Steven Posnack, Director, Office of Standards and Technology, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; Lori Walsh, Chief, Center for Risk and Quantitative Analytics, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; and other industry partners at the Cloudera Government Forum. The panel discussed that the concept of cloud is better understood in Federal government than it was a few years ago.

Agencies appreciate cost and benefit differences in the options available – public, private, and hybrid.

But, as we know, many have been slow to transition mission-critical applications.

Federal IT leaders are finding that their environments are not ready to transition, and that they have the same data ownership and governance issues in the cloud that they have in their own data centers. Good preparation and planning is needed up front for a smooth move to a cloud environment.

They’ve found that one cloud does not fit all, and to meet mission goals, keep data secure, improve agility, and reduce CAPEX – (not an easy list) – a combination of on-premise and off-premise cloud solutions typically works best – hybrid cloud.

In a recent IDG study of IT and business executives across industries, 96% report their hybrid cloud initiatives are delivering measurable results.

And, hybrid cloud environments reduce dependence on legacy infrastructure – moving agencies towards the modern data center.

Transform with Hybrid

On the panel, Audie Hittle referenced hybrid cloud as a transformative technology – a technology that provides users with efficiency, simplicity, and speed; enabling agencies to save time, money, and ultimately improve, or transform, current operations.

When making the move to cloud, there are many considerations. First step, agencies must determine what they are trying to accomplish, and what their use cases and requirements are – with security a top priority.

Keep in mind that cloud is not a destination; but rather, a vehicle to get there – I believe that we will see progress in the year ahead.

For more information on hybrid cloud, check out a previous post, “Hybrid Cloud and Digital Transformation – A Perfect Match.”