As the world is digitized, there is rising concern among consumers about the security of their information. The Internet of Things (IoT) is bringing forth a plethora of products that record and transmit details about our daily lives, from our health and behaviors to our search habits and whereabouts. Perhaps nowhere does the people’s trust hang more in the balance than in the public sector. Federal, state and local agencies collect and store some of the most sensitive personal data there is, from Social Security numbers to tax reports to motor vehicle information, background checks, medical exams, voting records and public surveillance footage.
An article from Deloitte Insights spells out the challenges. “Government stores far more data than the private sector and often keeps it on older, more vulnerable systems. Agencies are regularly targeted not just by opportunistic hackers but by teams funded and trained by nation-states. And even as governments try to protect themselves against hostile intruders, employees and citizens alike want their data conveniently available anytime, anywhere.”
What’s a government CIO to do?
Many government decision makers are putting new resources toward cyber threats, according to the 2018 Technology Forecast put out by National Association of State CIOs. “Cybersecurity maturity in state governments is improving as risk-based strategies are being adopted,” according to the association. Some 98% of CIOs surveyed for the technology forecast are leading or participating in cybersecurity policy setting. Data storage is a key part of that policy creation.
Creating a better consumer experience
For the past 100 years, Panasonic has been all about creating a better experience for the consumer. We’ve done that through consumer electronics products and home appliances, and more recently, we’ve engineered these experiences in collaboration with businesses and government entities through integrated solutions that impact the lives of our customer’s customers. We’re using today’s most disruptive technologies to reimagine how we live and work. IoT is one such technology. As more products, services and devices talk to each other, link and sync, massive volumes of data are being created, and with this wealth of information comes pressing requirements for management and storage. Government must be especially proactive and vigilant, as sensitive constituent data could be lucrative in the hands of criminals.
Here are a few things the public sector needs to know about the future of data storage, to provide constituents and themselves with peace of mind.
1. Machines will produce an unimaginable amount of data
IoT connected products are producing millions upon millions of small files at an accelerating rate. The advent of machine learning will only add to the data overload as devices rip through vast amounts of information in the blink of an eye. Research firm SINTEF estimates that by 2020, IoT connected objects will produce over 40,000 exabytes of machine-generated data. Big Data and storage subsystems must be able to handle the high capacity and keep scaling to keep up with growth.
2. Regulations can dictate storage
New laws, regulations and court decisions are creating data storage and intelligent archive demands that did not previously exist. The Federal Records Act requires certain government agencies to retain electronic documents for more than 100 years. Some police departments must retain surveillance videos from interviews and interrogations for a duration longer than 999 days.
New rules that take effect in the EU later this year promise sweeping changes in how citizen data can be collected, used and stored. Data experts have called the General Data Protection Regulation, which rolls out on May 25 in the EU—the biggest change to global privacy rules in more than two decades. Data experts suggest that the EU rules will impact U.S. companies, and possibly U.S. government practices. Experts are also closely watching a U.S. government case in front of the Supreme Court involving efforts to force Microsoft to hand over emails held on its servers in Dublin. The outcome could have major ramifications on data storage and privacy.
3. Ransomware is everywhere
Businesses and governments responsible for the data produced by connected devices will be increasingly vulnerable to data hijacking, aka ransomware, where hackers lock or encrypt files so they can’t be read unless their owner pays a ransom. Where you store your files can mitigate vulnerability, and data archive solutions that offer absolute immutability will be the long-term storage choice of this new, IoT powered world.
There is no doubt, the digitization of information and processes can help government enhance services, save money and improve the quality of life of its citizens. Investing in a strong cybersecurity strategy and risk-based technologies is mission critical to support these processes.