Frank Huerta is CEO and co-founder of TransLattice, where he is responsible for the vision and strategic direction of the company.
The age of mobile and its cousin, the Internet of Things, have multiplied data beyond all expectation. Trying to integrate all of this data has become significantly more difficult, particularly when you consider the fact that data centers are now often distributed around the world. There is a certain group of businesses for whom this is especially challenging: companies with large subscription lists who must manage sensitive data. Examples include online gaming platforms, healthcare organizations, banks and insurance companies.
Certain kinds of data, such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that include critical details such as Social Security numbers, credit card information, dates of birth and names and addresses are all part of subscription management and can be especially challenging to handle. Failure to handle it well can lead to a loss of revenue, increased business risk, and angry customers – all of which are bad for business.
The modern storage dilemma
Until recently, before the big data deluge hit, a single data storage location was sufficient. Data was easier to access and control. Today, many large enterprises have a global component to daily business transactions, with customers, partners and employees located around the world. Given the distributed nature of an organization’s users and increasing data location regulations, the traditional method of storing data on a central server to support worldwide stakeholders no longer meets business needs.
Changing business needs have led to a data storage flat earth – companies storing their data in locations around the world. This, in turn, has led to many foreign governments becoming increasingly obstinate about data privacy and security for data originating in-country. While regulations vary by country, there are growing requirements for PII data to remain in the country of origin. This means that policies must be created and maintained to ensure that data is stored in compliance with these regulations, which might be easier said than done when a company operates across continents.
There are, then, two options for data storage, and neither is ideal. Companies may choose to store data where it is most convenient for them, risking non-compliance with data location regulations, or they can establish separate data stores by region, per regulations.
Each of these has its challenges:
- Storing data in a manner that is not compliant with local regulations, though more convenient, carries serious legal and regulatory implications.
- Storing data in distinct locations in a way that maintains compliance with data location regulations keeps organizations safe but forces them to continually consolidate and synchronize their data. Depending on the needs of the organization, this can happen several times a day, once a day, weekly or even monthly. Regardless of the frequency of the consolidation, immediate access to data in real time is not possible.
Integrated policy management to the rescue
Thankfully, technological advances have come to the rescue regarding data management.
New approaches allow an organization to keep its existing infrastructure while enabling automated data location compliance. One approach is an integrated policy-driven data management system that eliminates the challenges described above, by automatically synchronizing data in real time, which provides a 360-degree view of the data at all times.
Significant reductions in costs and administrative time occur by deploying a data integration solution that allows you to keep existing infrastructure, while addressing data location compliance issues. This new approach takes advantage of a “scale-out” architecture where capabilities are extended by simply adding identical data management “nodes.” This enables easy scaling either within a data center or to multiple locations around the globe. Integrated policy management virtually eliminates the manual labor usually involved with scaling such a system and delivers a more streamlined, automated process.
A global storage solution
By adding data management nodes as needed, and where needed, to infrastructure that already exists, companies can run a data integration solution alongside their current data stores. As transactions are completed, most of the data is stored as usual, with region-specific data stored only on the node in that region. For example, if a company chooses to expand operations into a nation that requires all PII data be maintained in-country, it can place a node in that country and the PII data will be stored only on that node, rather than deploying a separate instance of the company’s existing database. The nodes form a geographically distributed fabric that provides data visibility in real time.
Data storage is more complex than it’s ever been. Not only is there exponentially more data to be stored than at any time in human history, but regulations regarding the storing of that data have become much more complex. Companies are operating at a global level, and their customers expect instant access to data at all times. Rather than having to choose between providing great service and remaining compliant, organizations can now employ policy-driven data management solutions. A policy-driven approach offers the best of both worlds: improved response times for remote users and real-time data visibility across regions. Better yet, this approach yields hefty time and cost savings as well. Businesses that cross borders now have one less thing to worry about.
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