Higher Education, Heartbleed, and the Heroes in your IT shop

At Splunk we spend a lot of time working with rank-and-file IT folks in higher education who must consistently deliver on two wildly divergent fronts – first, protect against threats foreseeable and unforeseeable (who saw HeartBleed coming?); and second, provide open infrastructure for the creation and sharing of next-generation human knowledge. I’ve had the privilege of working with some brilliant thinkers in this realm, folks who many years ago told me things like “the business model of higher education is broken” and “digital footprints from the learning process will form the foundation of next-generation education”, but the day-to-day lives of IT workers needs to change before these grand ideas take systemic hold. In the meantime, university IT budgets continue to …

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Splunk .conf 2013 welcomes Higher Education

A few days in Vegas… what enters your mind when you think about that? My own Vegas memories are irrevocably linked to the glory days of Comdex, pre-dotcom crash. Which just tells you how old I have become.

My favorite language from http://conf.splunk.com/ is “new ways to get more value from Splunk”. For the higher education types among us, “getting more value from the stuff you already have” is not just a good idea, it’s probably the only way you can keep your job AND your promised levels of security, compliance, or service.

So why the blog post? Because for the first time ever, Splunk will have a program dedicated to helping universities across the globe get more value out …

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Universities facing increased cybersecurity threat

The New York Times came out with a report yesterday on the exponentially increasing number of cybersecurity attacks on US campuses http://nyti.ms/15L7gmp . The article is worth reading because it begins to quantify the increase in number and sophistication of attacks – for one university, they receive up to 100,000 attacks per day. All of which means that chief information security officers find themselves with growing problems (and if they are lucky a growing budget).

The universities that have had some success in addressing these issues look at a wide variety of data from across the entire institution. As we say here at Splunk, cybersecurity is a big data problem… in other words, all elements of digital footprints are relevant …

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big data in the classroom

Over the last year and a half, the phrase “big data” has exploded into public awareness.  Simple Google searches on the phrase show it to be a hockey stick in terms of citations (http://blogs.splunk.com/2012/04/12/some-big-data-this-way-come), and to be more popular than “Barack Obama”.   What does that mean, if anything, for how we educate the students of today?

Not too long ago, I found myself in a situation where I needed some help.  I had a house full of stuff that needed to be boxed up and stored, but I didn’t have the time or energy to attack the tasks of sorting, packaging, labeling, and storing.  Thankfully my mother had the time to step in and help out.  We went …

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a business case for digital curation

Being a reformed academic of sorts, I get a little starry-eyed when things go “meta” – ie, whenever I observe a discussion about specific events or topics I tend to look for universal patterns.  Sometimes it’s useful, other times I end up annoying people, including myself.

Lately I have been reading and re-reading “Too Big To Know” (http://www.toobigtoknow.com/), an excellent book by David Weinberger on re-thinking the definition of knowledge in a networked age.  I also read his blog, and the most recent posting http://www.toobigtoknow.com/2012/08/11/2b2k-knowledges-typeface/ made me laugh-out-loud. Evidently, typeface impacts credibility http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/hear-all-ye-people-hearken-o-earth/, and his conclusion was that “your brain is not your friend”.  I can appreciate that.

Further down the page, however, something caught my eye …

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What does “security” mean for the next generation?

This past weekend, Splunk sponsored the 2012 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition http://www.splunk.com/view/SP-CAAAGXF , a competition aimed at helping undergraduate students master the craft of cyber-security so that they hit the ground running when they graduate.

Over this same weekend, I had the chance to visit a decommissioned Nike missile site in the Marin Headlands.  The site was staffed by retired volunteers who were active army personnel on-site when it stood ready to deploy nuclear warheads mounted on supersonic missiles.  As someone who went to high school during the early 1980’s, seeing cold-war era hardware and procedures in action was spooky and fascinating.  A small group of us rode the missile platform down and got a brief history lesson from …

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Getting swept off your feet by Big Data (and Splunk)

Last week I talked about the “big data” hurricane that is upon us.  Now a little bit on how to get swept off your feet instead of getting knocked down.

Educate yourself. Understand the content and sources of big data.  Contemplate the probable reality that correlating information across dissimilar data sets is far easier than you think.

The only real limit here is the imagination and determination of those asking the questions.

Educate others. North Carolina State established the Institute for Advanced Analytics in 2007 to educate the next …

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Some BIG DATA this way comes… (or is already here)

Some time ago, in a company not too far away, I woke up with unstructured data on my mind, thinking about ways to correlate real-time clickstream information with my existing customer base. The internal IT folks said that this was not possible, at least in a timeframe that would help my decision-making.  This merely increased my fascination with people interacting with all these layers of technology in unpredictable ways, defying the cry of the old-school database administrator:  “that which exists must fit into my predefined schema!”   The marketer in me just wanted to make sense of it all, but I was at a loss at how to get around that schema requirement and let my data crayon wander outside the …

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