Feds Managing Streaming Data Increase, but Lack Plan to Keep it Secure in Hybrid Environment

While 82 percent of Federal IT managers surveyed by MeriTalk agree that the amount of streaming data their agency manages is on the rise, 59 percent also said that their agency is struggling to secure its data consistently between on-premises and cloud.

A new infographic released today and underwritten by Cloudera – Data Constellations: Connecting the Dots in Federal Cloud – reveals that security concerns, the overwhelming volume of data, and a reliance on legacy infrastructure are the top data management challenges for agencies. As 85 percent of Feds noted that the ability to draw insights from data is the key to modern decision-making, agencies documented a need for formal data strategies and real-time data analysis.

Only 53 percent of IT managers said they have a formal strategy for streaming data and even fewer (31 percent) are fully confident in their ability to democratize data originating from a variety of sources. Agencies are also struggling with the initial jump to a cloud-based data management solution. Sixty six percent of Feds surveyed said that they struggled with onboarding new data sources in the cloud, and 77 percent said that their agency’s cloud data analytics solutions required coding knowledge.

Working to overcome these struggles, 88 percent of survey respondents said they are seeking more real-time capture and analysis of data sources and nearly all Feds are seeing the benefits of adopting effective data streaming solutions, per the data constellations infographic. The top benefits of switching to more effective data streaming solutions include the ability to handle high volume data, increased data management controls, and enhanced data security.

Already, 89 percent of Feds said that they are taking better steps to manage streaming data. Setting consistent data policies for different workloads, developing custom software to handle data movement, and replicating governance policies across datasets were the most common steps to improve management.

A second infographic based on the same research, Security Spark: Igniting Governance and Control in Federal Cloud, analyzes agencies’ approaches to protecting data in a cloud environment. Of the IT managers surveyed, 90 percent said that robust data security will enable their agency to fully realize the benefits of cloud computing.

Agencies are already taking several key steps to improve data security, according to the research. Feds reported using encryption, deploying firewalls, adopting regulatory-compliant cloud solutions, and replicating security policies across datasets as top strategies for data security.

Despite these efforts, Feds said that the top challenge to managing data security is ensuring compliance across all environments. Agencies also struggle with maintaining metadata as the data moves through different platforms and integrating different vendor solutions.

Even though 79 percent of agencies have a formal strategy for protecting data in cloud environments, only 51 percent of Feds surveyed called their governance policies “very consistent” across all workloads.

Looking ahead, 95 percent of Feds said that their agencies are prioritizing cloud data governance over the next five years. Over half (54 percent) said that data protection was a top priority area, followed by other areas such as data classification and organization, data quality management, and data access management.

Katie Malone
About Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.

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