US Government and Enterprises in Big Data: Blurring the Line for Mutual Benefit

Systems Analyst and writer, BMC

The U.S. federal government’s adaptation to emerging technologies happens alongside that of its enterprises in the private sector, albeit with more hurdles to clear. Many are quick to note a lag in federal government and military utilization of big data, but the fact is that the data environment of today is much more diverse and complex than it has been in the past. Enterprises may also do well to pay better mind to security rather than place their proverbial heads on the block for the sake of innovation.

Security First

The U.S. government and military have a heavy task in trying to balance staying on a technological cutting edge while protecting themselves from threats both foreign and domestic. On one hand, as computing resources become increasingly accessible on a global level, we have to expect that enemies of the state and even economic competition will seek to take advantage of them, and we cannot afford to be behind that curve. On the other hand, vulnerabilities in emerging technologies have to be identified and avoided as enemies will seek to exploit them to gain sensitive data.

Better collaboration between the public and private sectors is needed, as is better investment in security and development of best practices.

Sitting on a Gold Mine

It is no surprise that the U.S. government recognizes the potential gain in collaborating with the private sector as it seeks to expedite the process of bringing subject-matter experts from the other side of the fence into its employ. The U.S. military is quickly finding itself particularly immersed in big data. U.S. military officials have also noted a lack in analytic capability as large stores of data are amassed by drones and surveillance technology.

Last month, DARPA convened government and private sector experts to address the lack in necessary tools for extracting relevant information from large data stores. With qualified personnel unlikely to proliferate as quickly as data, development of efficient analytic tools will be ever more critical over the coming years. Collecting and securing data is all well and good, but ROI only comes with analysis. Quick analysis and dissemination of relevant information is a matter of life and death in the military. As such, there is a significant opportunity here to lead the way into development of the most efficient analytic tools for petabytes of data. Massive storage capabilities will expand the playing field where intelligent software will need to be MVP.

The bottom line is that the line between the U.S. government and its large enterprises is becoming less hard and exclusive than it has been in the past. Some would probably argue that it is past time. The government can lead the way in our rapidly evolving IT environment. The more it can be a resource to our economy, the better.


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