The Mike Brown Era – and the Associated Pressure – Begins at Symantec

Last Thursday, Symantec announced that interim CEO, Mike Brown, has assumed this role on a permanent basis. Wall Street wasn't exactly dancing a jig when it heard the news; the stock was down from after-hours trading on Thursday through the close of the market on Friday. In fact, of the 28 analyst recommendations currently tracked on Yahoo Finance, 20 are issuing a “hold” recommendation and only 3 classify Symantec as a “strong buy.”

Wall Street’s lukewarm reaction to Mike Brown represents what he and the company face moving forward. The market at large (i.e., investors, IT managers, potential employees, etc.) was expecting new blood when Symantec terminated Steve Bennett and promised an “extensive search” for new a new leader and apparently interviewed 100 candidates with 33 seriously vetted for the top job. When Brown was handed the job last week, market cynics quickly concluded that the company couldn’t attract a visible software leader or an inept board wasted time and money before realizing that Brown was the right person for the job. Right or wrong, Symantec faces these and lots of other negative perceptions.

Topics: Storage Data Management & Analytics Information and Risk Management Security and Privacy

Hadoop Clusters Made Easy at Alice's Restaurant

A lot of people talk about "democratizing big data" and providing more analytics-based insights to more of the business. This has obvious value, and being data-driven in decision making is a fundamental principle of most initiatives. There are differing approaches to this, however. Some believe the best way to achieve democratization is through pretty dashboards and pictures, and, as Arlo Guthrie once said, they had "twenty seven 8"x10" color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, explaining what each one was, to be used as evidence against us." While I love a persuasive data visualization as much as the next guy, well, this only solves part of the problem.

Topics: Analytics Big Data Data Management & Analytics Hadoop Enterprise Software bluedata

Big Data ≠ Competitive Advantage

Most companies undertaking new big data initiatives are doing so with specific business goals in mind. The belief is that a better understanding of their operations, their customers, their research and development will all lead to smarter, timelier decisions, and this will then translate into better results. Done right, this is all true enough, and certainly a worthy pursuit. (Some common mistakes are outlined in my the-discouragement-of-data/index.html" target="_blank">previous blog post about the discouragement of data.)

Topics: Analytics Big Data Data Management & Analytics Enterprise Software

IBM Covers the Board for Big Data Solutions

IBM STG (the hardware group) will tell you infrastructure matters for big data solutions. This is correct. The capabilities of servers and storage, networks, and clouds will all definitely have a significant impact on a number of characteristics of an analytics environment, including but not limited to performance, scalability, reliability, and cost.

Topics: IBM Analytics Big Data Data Management & Analytics Enterprise Software

The Data Scientist in the Room

This summer I spent a lot of time interviewing the self-proclaimed big data leaders at a wide range of midmarket and enterprise companies. These are the people charged with defining their organizations' big data strategies and new initiatives. First, let me say these are not dummies. No one gets put in the driver's seat for these projects without knowing a lot about technology and business both.

Topics: Analytics Big Data Data Management & Analytics Enterprise Software

It's Performance @ Scale, Not Performance + Scale

Want to know what's trite in big data marketing today? Pitches that focus on speed for speed's sake, thinking if only they can get enough zeroes in the headline the customer is sure to buy. Second most common cliche to the "go fast" guys are the ones who rave about their scalability, as if size is all that counts. Both attributes matter, but both are kind of missing the point if taken alone. Customers' decision criteria for big data solutions includes these capabilities, but almost always as a combined function, not independent axes for evaluation.

Topics: Analytics Big Data Data Management & Analytics Enterprise Software

The Most Secret V of Big Data

Everyone who has spent any time looking at the world of big data will have by now familiarized themselves with the 5 "V"s of Volume, Velocity, Variety, Veracity, and Value, and these are no doubt good descriptors of the new requirements. There is however another secret V to consider, well, ok, it's really more of an L, but cock your head 45 degrees to the right and it'll start to look a bit like a V anyway.

Topics: Analytics Big Data Data Management & Analytics Enterprise Software

The Hadoop Dating Game: Hooking Up to Get Ahead

As summer starts to wind down and our family begins to look forward to another school year, I find myself reflecting on old friends, and thinking about new ones. Seems to me there are at least three categories of friends:

Topics: Analytics Big Data Data Management & Analytics Hadoop Enterprise Software

An ESG Exclusive: The "Database Analytics Trends" Report

Here at ESG, we just put the finishing moves on our new Enterprise Database Trends in a Big Data World report, be sure to ask for it by name at your local newsstand if you aren’t already getting home delivery of all our research. This piece of work is part two of a grand trilogy (thrill-ogy?) in our data management research calendar along with the earlier Enterprise Data Analytics Trends and the upcoming Enterprise Big Data, Business Intelligence, and Analytics Trends reports.

The current installment looks at the pressures on existing databases, the practical science of database management, how organizations are re-thinking their strategies and technology selections, and the challenging dynamics of the discipline.

Topics: Analytics Data Management & Analytics Enterprise Software database Enterprise

Anticipating Black Hat

RSA 2014 seems like ancient history and the 2015 event isn’t until next April. No worries, however, the industry is set to gather in the Las Vegas heat next week for cocktails, sushi bars, and oh yeah – Black Hat.

Now Black Hat is an interesting blend of constituents consisting of government gumshoes, Sand Hill Rd. Merlot drinking VCs, cybersecurity business wonks, “beautiful mind” academics, and tattooed hackers – my kind of crowd! As such, we aren’t likely to hear much about NIST frameworks, GRC, or CISO strategies. Alternatively, I am looking forward to deep discussions on:

  • Advanced malware tactics. Some of my favorite cybersecurity researchers will be in town to describe what they are seeing “in the wild.” These discussions are extremely informative and scary at the same time. This is where industry analysts like me learn about the latest evasion techniques, man-in-the-browser attacks, and whether mobile malware will really impact enterprise organizations.
  • The anatomy of various security breaches. Breaches at organizations like the New York Times, Nordstrom, Target, and the Wall Street Journal receive lots of media attention, but the actual details of attacks like these are far too technical for business publications or media outlets like CNN and Fox News. These “kill chain” details are exactly what we industry insiders crave as they provide play-by-play commentary about the cybersecurity cat-and-mouse game we live in.
  • Threat intelligence. All of the leading infosec vendors (i.e., Blue Coat, Cisco, Check Point, HP, IBM, Juniper, McAfee, RSA, Symantec, Trend Micro, Webroot, etc.) have been offering threat intelligence for years, yet threat intelligence will be one of the major highlights at Black Hat. Why? Because not all security and/or threat intelligence is created equally. Newer players like BitSight, Crowdstrike, iSight Partners, Norse, RiskIQ, and Vorstack are slicing and dicing threat intelligence and customizing it for specific industries and use cases. Other vendors like Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks are actively sharing threat intelligence and encouraging other security insiders to join. Finally, there is a global hue and cry for intelligence sharing that includes industry standards (i.e. CybOX, STIX, TAXII, etc.) and even pending legislation. All of these things should create an interesting discourse.
  • Big data security analytics. This is an area I follow closely that is changing on a daily basis. It’s also an interesting community of vendors. Some (i.e., 21CT, ISC8, Leidos, Lockheed-Martin, Norse, Palantir, Raytheon, etc.), come from the post 9/11 “total information access” world, while others (Click Security, HP, IBM, Lancope, LogRhythm, RSA, etc.) are firmly rooted in the infosec industry. I look forward to a lively discussion about geeky topics like algorithms, machine learning, and visual analytics.
Topics: IBM Check Point Palo Alto Networks Fortinet Cisco Data Management & Analytics Information and Risk Management Juniper HP McAfee Enterprise Software Security and Privacy Crowdstrike Lockheed Martin Black Hat trend micro RiskIQ 21CT Leidos Norse CybOX BitSight Symantec RSA TAXII ISC8 Blue Coat STIX Webroot