What I learnt from your photos…

So lets get this straight first, I haven’t seen or looked for any  pictures of any celebrities since the current cloud scandal hit, but like everyone else, it was impossible not to hear the news.

Now we could spend all the time in the world discussing the merits of the different options for cloud storage, but the bigger challenge is getting people to understand the value of content.

Pictures are a great way to capture memories, fun, impactful… even intimate, and the devices we use to capture them have meant we can do so immediately sometimes too easily. With that in mind, these devices have increasingly provided us the ability to capture business information, photos of whiteboards, architecture, and now even moving beyond pictures to files such as word or excel documents, many of which contain information which is both sensitive or competitive in nature.

All of this information has an inherent business value, and its important that we address this. I see this playing out in two ways.

  1. Educating users on the value of information
  2. Providing an easy to use yet secure environment to collaborate

Educating users on the value of information

This is probably the toughest area to address in this space. Helping users understand the value of content they have created is a challenge, you cant simply charge by the letter, word, or cell in a spreadsheet. So how do you quantify the value of a document, well unless you are talking about a document that contains a quantifiable value to the company i.e. a business plan for an incremental $10 million revenue, or product marketing plan to generate $50 million in pipeline opportunity, we need to think about the qualitative. Users need to think about what is the risk if a competitor got this information, what is the impact if this information got leaked to the press. There is no simple way to add a $ to all of this, the only thing that can be done is to drive awareness and education on the problem, unless there is some type of business intelligence way that could evaluate the dollar value of content.

Providing and easy to use yet secure environment to collaborate

Companies can and must take an active role in providing safe and secure environments to collaborate, that integrate in to the users natural work motion, especially as that work motion has changed so rapidly since the consumerization of IT. There are plenty of solutions out there in the marketplace, at VMware we have some amazing technologies from our Air-Watch team with the Secure Content Locker offering (http://www.air-watch.com/solutions/mobile-content-management).

It is essential that information be treated with a level of security that is inline with its sensitivity. In that regard we need to start thinking about content lifecycles, expiration, tracking, encryption… all of these sound incredibly complicated, but increasingly necessary, but at the same time, it needs to be done in a way that is intuitive to the user. IT can try and roll their own solution in this space, but with the increasingly complex environment of devices and content, its easy to get out of touch with all the demands, as well as just running your current IT services.

The thing is, its not a matter of if we should implement this, its a matter of when, and later is not an option, as massive amounts of content is being created every minute, as was shown in the infographic here http://mashable.com/2012/06/22/data-created-every-minute/.

In closing, IT departments need to be thinking about ways to help solve the problem of information leakage, after all its not just the value of the information you know about, but the unknown value of the information you aren’t aware of.