How Apple’s product reveal addresses data governance

Analytics Solutions Social Specialist, IBM

The tech world went wild as Apple revealed its new products on Tuesday. In addition to the IPhone 6 and 6+, they confirmed rumors by also presenting the Apple Watch (contrary to predictions, not the iWatch). The capabilities of these new technologies are thrilling.

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With the new Apple Pay feature, users begin the complete eradication of their credit cards. Their card information is stored in their iPhone and payments are distributed in a single tap. Apple Pay appears to be the next step in the movement away from physical currency and towards an all-digital system. Companies as large and diverse as Whole Foods, McDonalds, Macy’s and Uber have already signed on to the new payment system.

However, this currency transformation does not come without risk. Apple realized that with the vast amount of highly sensitive data involved in this process (including credit card, bank and purchase information) security is the top concern. Similar phone-based payment services have faced skepticism and concern regarding their security in the past. The Verge points out that “any effort to get widespread acceptance of mobile payments will depend on consumers feeling safe.” Vast amounts of data demand dependable security.

This is even more paramount considering Apple’s recent run-in with mobile security. When celebrities' private photos were leaked in an event many called “Celebgate,” iCloud security made headlines. Consumers’ awareness of personal security is only heightened going into the Apple Pay launch, despite reassurances of additional security measures.

It is no surprise, then, that much of Tim Cook’s pitch of Apple Pay revolved around its security infrastructure and capabilities. Apple will be using tokenization to secure users’ information, generating a random number to be associated with card credentials and managing those “tokens” from initial creation through payment to eventual card expiration, loss or theft. In his presentation of Apple Pay, Cook noted that this form of data governance would make payment processes even more secure because the user’s credit card number, expiration date and security code are not available to the store, the store employee or Apple at any point during the sale.

Apple has declared ambitions to transform the way credit card payments are done both in-person and online with the announcement of their new Apple Pay application. Handling of these large amounts of sensitive information wouldn’t be possible without a secure data governance infrastructure in place, particularly with the public now so sensitive to recent data hacks. Apple’s product reveal provides yet another example of how the opportunities offered by developing technology must also be tempered by serious considerations of information security.

To learn about some of the most important processes, policies, procedures and relevant technologies in big data governance, connect with the Program Director of IBM’s InfoSphere Information Integration and Governance, and join the upcoming webcast, “Leveraging big data governance.”