Ensuring Data Safety and Security for Government Agencies

Categories: Security, Risk, and Compliance

We are in the midst of a technological shift. The number of devices, data from those devices, and security threats both to those devices and the networks that connect them, have all increased so exponentially that agency CIOs and CISOs are suffering from overload. Despite the fact that they have tools in place to help them address this, they are still struggling. Here’s why:

  • Rule-based systems, while necessary, are not sufficient to handle the volume of data or deal with the unknown-unknowns. Statistical computing at-scale must be leveraged to decrease overall risk. The “at-scale” part is very important.
  • Data combinatorics are immensely problematic. So we should behave as though ALL data is sensitive. Just because one piece of data is correctly labeled as  “low risk,” that may not be the case when viewed in conjunction with every other piece of “low risk” data. Does that change your security posture? Yes, it does. Does the risk of one piece of data allow new insight when not appropriately access-controlled? Yes, it does.
  • Scalability and an “endless toolbox” are already needed in the enterprise. Whether it’s analyzing interesting patterns in a manufacturing process pipeline via sensor-laden devices or coming up with new ways to predict threats by analyzing every PDF document you can get your hands on, users armed with an enterprise data hub (EDH) are coming up with endless solutions when they aren’t limited by scale or siloed tools. The combination of choice and scale leads to massive leaps in efficiency and effectiveness.

Over the last few years, Cloudera has made substantial progress in helping agencies — both civilian and defense — leverage data to solve mission-critical challenges in the context of our hyper-connected reality. In 2015 we focused on ensuring data safety and security, no matter the location, and we helped agencies address some significant related challenges:

High-side support – Cloudera now supports cleared environments and frequent onsite visits are an embedded and integral part of that “white glove” customer support experience on the high-side.

Encryption for all – In 2014 we acquired the best encryption cloud-native/scalable technology and made it part of Cloudera Enterprise. In addition, we have begun to offer cloud-native — plus bare-metal– scalable encryption for other data-stores as well: Online transaction processing (OLTP) databases, Storage Area Networks (SANs), and many other use-cases.

Rapid prototyping – What used to require months and years of planning to support new software features can now be developed and supported specifically for the U.S. government community due to our direct relationship with them. The practical impact for customers is that new feature rollouts for those customers is greatly compressed because we test specifically for that community.

Best-of-breed security – Part of our ‘encryption for all’ program included prototyping multiple data-stores, a diverse blend of layered protections including protection from root administrators (or cloud providers) and — of course — applying the correct controls (ICD 503 – Intelligence Community Information Technology Systems Security, Risk Management, Certification and Accreditation.)

In 2016 we’re building on top of this, amplifying data sharing as a force multiplier. You’ll be hearing more from me on this in the very near future and continually as we progress. Our goal is to make data an agency’s greatest asset in achieving its mission, not another technology issue that distracts them from that. We’ve made some great progress towards that goal, and we are well on our way to getting even closer this year.


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