EMC World 2013: ‘Lead your transformation’

Over 15,000 people descended on Las Vegas for EMC World 2013, the annual technology conference for industry leader EMC.

EMC’s Dave Menninger 370 (photo credit: Courtesy EMC)
EMC’s Dave Menninger 370
(photo credit: Courtesy EMC)
LAS VEGAS – Over 15,000 people descended on Las Vegas last week for EMC World 2013, the annual technology conference for industry leader EMC. The theme this year is “Lead your transformation,” with the hot topics being big data, security and cloud storage.
EMC is the industry leader in data storage, and has committed itself heavily within Israel. Last year, the company paid $430 mil- lion for Israeli-startup XtremIO, that had revolutionized the flash storage market. EMC has had sales and research operations in Israel since 1994, and has acquired multiple firms with major operations, including XtremIO, that helped solidify their leading position.
The world of data storage is changing however, with the vast amounts of big data now pouring in, largely coming from personal-mobile devices.
Big Data refers to information so vast, that it is difficult to analyze in traditional ways. This information can come from the websites you visit, the queries you make online or the route you take to work. All collected via your home computers and mobile devices. While this type of information currently makes up the bulk of big data, experts see it expanding more and more into our daily lives in the years to come.
This has lead EMC and its partner company VMware, to launch a new company, Pivotal, to help businesses analyze the incredibly valuable information hidden in this data. An indication of the importance placed on this emerg- ing technology is that General Electric has contributed $105m. to become a partner with a 10 percent stake in Pivotal.
“Everything made, from toasters to jet engines will be able to report,” says Paul Maritz, CEO of Pivotal.
It is predicted that in the upcoming years, we will see sensors in an expanding variety of the objects we interact with on a daily basis, and they will play an ever increasing role in our lives. Even today, in some markets, cars can be outfitted with sensors that will be able to report to insurance companies if we so choose. Insurance providers can use the data – frequency of speeding, running red lights, etc – to possibly provide lower rates to its customers.
Retailers will be able to track what you buy and how often to target their advertising to your lifestyle. Buy toothpaste every three weeks? With this technology, companies will be able to deliver coupons for toothpaste to your phone as you near their store when the time arrives.
Although this rich data has the potential of huge profits for business, and the ability to make life easier for consumers, along with it comes a new, unprecedented amount of risk. As valuable as the information is for big business, it is equally so for criminals.
EMC’s security division, RSA has set out to ensure that this information will be as secure as possible.
RSA, which is respected through- out the world as a leader in information security, has a large operation in Israel. RSA runs an anti- fraud command center, located in Herzliya, covering almost all of the world’s major banks.
“Israel will play a pivotal part in the future [of data security],” said Brian Fitzgerald, VP of marketing at RSA, to The Jerusalem Post on the sidelines of the conference. “The data-science culture in Israel is strong,” he noted, pointing to the connection between academia and business in the country.
And the need for the security will continue to grow. There are currently 3.4 billion devices connected to the Internet, and by the year 2020, that number is expected to grow to 200 billion. With this much personal information flowing through the cyber world, privacy will be a bigger concern then ever before. Art Coviello, executive chairman at RSA forecasts an almost total lack of privacy by 2020, through voluntarily “opting in” with new applications.
And this is good news for cyber criminals. Even today, criminals are collecting data at an alarming rate. While most are hoping for information that is easy to monetize, such as credit-card informa- tion, often times they find themselves with industrial, or security data that they are unable to profit from. This information can be sold to nation states, who have the ability to exploit it. Even untrained hackers can benefit from the vulnerabilities of online data, with services that will provide a user with the software to steal information such as credit-card data, frequently even including satisfaction guarantees and customer service.
This is leading to a change in the way the industry needs to view its security. According to Coviello, currently 80% of security spending is on prevention of attacks. While this method worked previously, when storage was usually on sight and professionals could build a perimeter against attacks, in todays world of cloud storage and mobile devices, there needs to be a shift in security methods.
Coviello also forecasts that security spending will outpace IT-infra- structure spending over the next five years, as companies prepare for impending changes to the industry. He also expects there to be a vast shortage of qualified security personnel in the coming years, where even the largest organizations will have a hard time hiring the people they need to protect their data.
Fitzgerald is optimistic about the future of data security however, telling the Post that although hackers have had the upper hand during the last few years “I believe security will swing back in favor of the security implementers.”