By Marshall Presser, Field Chief Technology Officer, Pivotal
While it didn’t receive the attention that People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive announcement garnered, last year Harvard Business Review named “Data Scientist” as the sexiest job of the 21st century, in a move that was perhaps just as important.
Much of the discussion around big data rightly centers on the technology tools that can empower organizations to collect, standardize, and analyze enormous amounts of information, but enterprises still need extremely talented people to employ these tools correctly, contextualize the findings, and make sound decisions based on the insights. Like cybersecurity, big data is more critical than ever to the success of organizations across both the public and private sectors, and it is rapidly evolving. Also like cybersecurity, the U.S. workforce doesn’t have enough people with the unique mix of skills to operate effectively in the current big data environment.
By General John M. Custer, Director, EMC Federal
Who cares about big data? We know that tons of information is inundating federal agencies from new sources like sensors, mobile devices, satellites, and social media – but so what? The volume of data is irrelevant unless you can make sense of it in time to make better decisions. Fast data beats big data every time.
The difference is subtle but important. Big data involves collecting, storing, and analyzing information to figure out what happened after an event occurred, or what might happen in the future. Traditionally, this process takes time, and when the answers finally reveal themselves, it’s often too late to act.
By Dan Dougherty, Vice President, Federal at EMC Corporation
Veteran’s Day is the perfect time to think about how we are doing when it comes to veteran unemployment. Back in July I wrote that our service men and women are highly educated, exceptionally trained, and truly understand what it means to be a part of a successful team. They bring leadership skills and technical knowledge that companies are always on the lookout for.
But despite pockets of success, we’re still falling short on military hiring in the private sector. The unemployment rate for post 9/11 veterans rose to 10 percent in September 2013, compared with 7.2 percent for the rest of the population. That’s an unacceptable number when you think about the skills and work ethic that our service men and women bring to the table. In my conversations with former military personnel that have established long careers here at EMC, there is consensus that the value of armed services experience to the private sector is getting lost in translation.
By John McCumber, Federal Technologist,
RSA, the Security Division of EMC
Cybersecurity is a process, not a destination.
That’s an uncomfortable fact for federal leaders responsible for protecting some of the most sensitive information in the world. It would be great if there was a security standard that could be met, or a checklist of actions that could be taken to guarantee protection from the entire spectrum of environmental and human threats, but it’s just not the reality we live in. The cyber landscape is constantly evolving, with enemies becoming more sophisticated by the day, and our approach to protecting IT infrastructure must continue to improve to keep pace.
In recent testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, my colleague Art Coviello, Executive Chairman of RSA, referenced recent GAO statistics indicating that the number of cyber attacks reported by federal agencies increased by 782 percent from 2006 to 2012. That’s an astounding increase that outlines the scope of our current challenge. We’ve been chasing defensive security standards and checklists for the past 35 years, hoping that some stamp of approval would make us 100 percent secure, but if that approach worked, we would have solved the problem by now.
By Kyle Keller, Cloud Business Director, EMC Federal
Last week I had the pleasure of participating in an event hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Forum (ITIF) on Capitol Hill, focused on how government agencies can utilize cloud computing to become more efficient, and save money. Panelists included Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), along with federal IT and industry leaders, and the discussion focused on not only on cloud best practices, but also on the adoption hurdles that agencies face.
There was consensus on the benefits, including reduced infrastructure management costs, a more efficient consumption-based procurement model, and the ability to devote more resources toward strategic mission goals. These advantages haven’t changed since 2011, when the administration’s “Cloud First” strategy was first unveiled, and former federal CIO Vivek Kundra noted, “If you’re the State Department your mission is to advance the foreign policy interests of the U.S. government abroad — not to run data centers.” But when it comes to moving to the cloud, many federal agencies are still challenged by complex, stove-piped legacy IT systems, historic budget cuts, and a procurement process that is geared more towards physical infrastructure rather than services.