The Defense Department’s data management imperative

All organizations must manage their data in order to accomplish their missions. An enterprise approach to data management can help DoD agencies reduce the compl...

This content is sponsored by Veritas

By William Jackson

Successful organizations have mastery of their data. They know where it is, can access it, protect and gain insight from it to achieve their missions. But Defense Department agencies can be overwhelmed by huge volumes of data being generated in a variety of formats by a growing number of sources. Complex legacy IT systems make it difficult to fully protect, access and extract value from this data so that it can be used to support the warfighter and achieve mission success.

An enterprise approach to data management can help DoD agencies modernize their IT environments and enable a real digital transformation. By fully integrating IT systems and data sources, data can be leveraged to achieve better mission outcomes.

True digital transformation produces an IT architecture that is focused on information rather than technology. This lets agencies take full advantage of the economy, flexibility and scalability of modern cloud and hybrid IT environments. By providing visibility, accessibility and security, agencies can realize the full value of their vital data resources.

The growth of data

The volume of data being gathered by agencies is growing rapidly as the sources generating it continue to grow, making the ability to store, process, analyze, interpret, consume and act upon that data a primary concern, says Jonathan Alboum, chief technology officer for the Public Sector for Veritas Technologies. He notes that “global satellite networks, embedded sensors and the Internet of Things, in addition to traditional intelligence sources, are producing more data in a variety of formats, exceeding the capacity of traditional computing.” Data scientists predict exponential data growth toward 2020.  Alboum adds, that “much of the data being gathered even today, does not fit the structures of relational databases and is not easily used by legacy systems. And much of the data being stored is duplicated material that adds little value but which still must be managed and protected.”

This data is used at every command level, from planning through logistical support to the warfighters in the field. The goal of Defense agencies is to extract usable information from this data to support these mission-critical processes. The challenge for these agencies is to understand what data it has, where it is and how to access it. This is difficult if not impossible in the current fragmented legacy IT environment.

An enterprise data management framework

The DoD is addressing this challenge with modernization initiatives to streamline IT acquisition and to take advantage of the economies of cloud computing. This is a challenging task while maintaining operational capacity and preventing downtime on mission-critical systems. And replacing outdated legacy IT is by itself not enough to realize the full value of data. In his advice, Alboum suggests that any IT modernization must support a digital transformation that fully integrates systems and data sources, eliminate silos and makes data available for achieving the desired outcomes. It also enables agencies to comply with regulatory requirements for data governance and security.

“A comprehensive enterprise data management strategy bridges the gap between simple IT modernization and real digital transformation,” Alboum said. Holistic data management and a strong information governance strategy can provide the framework agencies need to:

  • Assess the environment by visualizing the data,
  • Design a path forward,
  • Test migrations with real data,
  • Execute transformation, and
  • Innovate.

An enterprise approach to data management enables data insight, availability and protection, letting Defense agencies maintain full control of both information and infrastructure as it modernizes and transforms their IT environments. When data is made visible, agencies can determine who owns the data, who has access to it, and classify it according to its value and risk. Policies can be assigned and enforced for user authorization, access time requirements, retention and disposal to comply with security and governance requirements. Most importantly, these actions yield better availability of data to drive faster decision making while reducing duplication and costs.

“With cloud-enabled software-defined data management, defense agencies can apply policies centrally across diverse environments, regardless of underlying infrastructure,” Alboum said. “With a complete view of the data environment, agencies can extract intelligence from structured and unstructured data sources to support warfighters and better protect our nation.”

Veritas works in complex and dynamic IT environments, including the DoD, to ensure the safety and accessibility of critical data.  Its solutions drive IT modernization and digital transformation, providing DoD customers with data protection, availability, and insight on their terms, wherever their information travels.

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