Business executives want to operate in real time. If sales are up or down, marketing executives want to know about it right away. If a competitor cuts prices or dwindling inventory is going to mean constricted shipments or the social media is starting to chatter about your company’s poor customer service, you want to get that information as soon as possible so you can act on it.
Business executives also want to operate in a secure company. Leaky customer data, competitors fishing for your future plans or restricted information entering the public domain can undo a company’s best laid plans.
While fast will never be fast enough or security perfectly tight, there were some technology announcements recently that show help is on the way. Oracle claims that their previously announced 12c in-memory system will be shipping in 60 days. Then Hewlett-Packard introduced a set of encryption tools that would make it much tougher for the bad guys to get your data.
Oracle is late to the in-memory race, but on its face the Oracle in-memory system has some advantages over the competition. The rise of solid state memory to take over the tasks previously performed on spinning disks is one of the more positive enterprise business developments of the past several years.
The promise and the reality of in-memory database systems is that they can now generate reports in a matter of minutes that once took weeks to run. However, the effort required to prepare data and applications to run in-memory can run from trivial to prodigious. The Oracle system promises to be able to run previously developed applications without modification, a claim SAP’s HANA in-memory system is challenged to match.
Cutting the time to run reports and doing analytics on big data sets is a benefit immediately apparent to business managers. With the cost of solid state memory falling to around $2 per gigabyte (a figure offered up by HP at its Discover conference), the prospects of businesses running faster promises to deliver continued improvement in business productivity.
Meanwhile, a new set of encryption services introduced by HP brings the promise of simple-to-manage, end-to-end encryption, whether on premise or in the cloud, closer to reality. The encryption services come from HP’s Atalla division, which can trace its roots all the way to Tandem Computers, and underpins many of the ATM systems in operation today.
While encryption has always been appealing, its widespread use has been stymied by concerns about encryption slowing overall system performance and about the difficulty of managing encrypted key services. To counterbalance those concerns, the appeal of encryption lies in making your data much more difficult to steal by even the most intrepid hacker.
HP Secure Encryption, Atalla Cloud Encryption and Atalla Information Protection and Control address today’s needs for the deployment of on-premise, simple encryption, cloud security, content security and management.
The revelations emanating from the Edward Snowden-purloined NSA documents and recent court rulings requiring cloud providers to turn over customer data to government agencies has spurred companies to revisit encrypted systems as a security option. The HP systems are worth a look as they build on a legacy of encryption and address encryption as a systemwide process that incorporates open-source standards rather than proprietary point products.
Speed and security don’t have to be in contradiction. The rise of the social networked, mobile-based corporation has provided hackers with many more vectors to attack the enterprise. The answer isn’t to close off the mobile aspects of the corporation, but to make sure the data travelling on those mobile pathways gets to the right people and is safe from interception by prying hackers.
Eric Lundquist is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Lundquist, who was editor-in-chief at eWEEK (previously PC WEEK) from 1996-2008 authored this article for eWEEK to share his thoughts on technology, products and services. No investment advice is offered in this article. All duties are disclaimed. Lundquist works separately for a private investment firm which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this article and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.