What is data visibility, and why do you need it?
Let’s take a trip back in time. It’s late-1950s America, and comic book culture rules the imaginations of kids across the nation. There is one thing they all want: X-ray vision. Superman had it, and you could too — if you just bought the fancy X-ray glasses hawked in advertisements on the back of every comic book in your collection.
The ability to see through walls captured imaginations instantly. Why did this resonate so profoundly with pop culture in the post-war zeitgeist? There’s something uniquely fascinating about seeing what others cannot.
In many ways, this desire still drives the imagination of a new generation of business leaders. Only now, it’s about a kind of digital superpower: data visibility.
Data has become the essential fuel, the motive power behind business success. You have sensitive data, regulated data, customer data, and outward-facing data. You worry about data encryption and data lifecycles. But, in the midst of this never-shrinking mountain of data we’re all collecting, new problems arise. How do you find it? How do you protect what you can’t see?
What is data visibility?
For many businesses today, data lives in a thousand places and nowhere all at once. It is on edge devices, servers, clouds, and USB drives. When data only lived in physical machines located securely on-premises, it wasn’t as difficult. Today, data visibility and monitoring could quickly become a dilemma for organizations not poised to answer these questions.
Now, consider that companies with deep data visibility are also putting distance between themselves and competitors through AI-powered machine learning analysis. Data visibility is not just a best practice; it is an intrinsic business advantage that’s already separating winners from losers.
Data visibility is essentially a measure of how easy it is for your organization to monitor, analyze, and access data from all of the different sources in your technology stack. It’s the foundation of the burgeoning Business Intelligence movement. It improves capacity planning, resource availability, and cost analysis. It enhances overall data security — because you can’t protect what you can’t see.
There are three primary strategies to consider when evaluating data visibility solutions:
- Scalable, Dynamic Interfaces - Modern data analytics capabilities must scale on demand. These systems should be comprehensive in coverage, from edge to core, leaving nothing uncovered. They must also adapt to the changing needs of the user base effortlessly. Flexibility is king; the UX reigns supreme. If it’s not intuitive and effortless, it won’t be useful. It will be dead on arrival.
- Comprehensive Toolsets - Data visibility ultimately means you can find and track the movements of any single piece of information in your entire IT ecosystem. Whether you build out custom enterprise resources or implement third-party tools, they must give the IT administrator godlike status and near-infinite knowledge.
- Real-Time Reporting - Business moves at the speed of data. That’s several orders of magnitude faster than the standardized monthly reports that legacy systems were built on. To achieve data visibility, you need to be able to see the full scope of your data this very second. You collect, store, and leverage business process data in real time. Your infrastructure should give you reporting capabilities that match at least that. If they can predict the future, that’s even better.
Why do you need data visibility?
As Erasmus said, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Vision is power, no matter the context.
Data transparency lets managers understand project timelines, budgets, resources, and staffing. It allows leaders to evaluate risk better and avoid critical issues before they begin. It offers sales and marketing teams insights into the mind of the customer, feeding more intelligent and effective growth.
With clear guidelines and protocols, consistent organization, and easy access to your data, you’ll be equipped with superpowers: better business intelligence, faster decision-making, and near-mind-reading sales pitches.
Data visibility provides understanding. Because you have full access to all of the data involved in the organization, you can quickly obtain high-level insights into specific projects, timelines, and initiatives. Furthermore, you can trust that your bird’s eye view is accurate because you have all the information.
Data visibility empowers smart decisions. Consider the classic business platitude: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” At the heart of that statement is the constant quest for more accurate, more complete, and more detailed information to guide decisions. Data visibility maximizes that process and increases organizational agility.
Data visibility is good for culture. One of the most common complaints among high-performing teams is a lack of information/communication. When true data visibility is implemented, your innovators will be equipped with the transparency and speed-to-information they need to do their jobs with less frustration. You’ll be able to identify and remove bottlenecks, reallocate resources with sound justification, and increase success rates at the project level.
Data visibility drives data security. When you have a complete picture of your data assets across every edge device, every server, and every network element, you are more prepared to defend against cybersecurity threats. You’ll identify vulnerabilities faster, better understand which data is most sensitive and requires stronger defenses, and regain control over how security protocols are designed and implemented. When the movement and changes to every speck of data are visible, you can prevent corruption, malicious behavior, and unauthorized access sooner and with less loss.
In a world driven by data, data visibility is quickly becoming a cornerstone of digital transformation and a non-negotiable for those serious about 21st-century business intelligence.
How do you achieve data visibility?
Comprehensive data visibility requires depth and breadth in its scope. Whether the data is on an endpoint or in the cloud, you must locate and track its movement. You’ll need tools that power analysis in real time and equip you to act on information instantly.
Panzura CloudFS provides a single pane of glass search and monitoring solution for the entire file network. By using a distributed file system with network acceleration technology specifically designed to accommodate highly latent remote object stores, CloudFS enables high-performance tiered NAS, global file collaboration, ransomware resilience, active archiving, backup, and DR across all your organization’s locations.
CloudFS was engineered to closely manage how files are utilized and stored to provide robust, seamless multi-cloud data management. It improves on WAFL and ZFS while integrating cloud storage as a native capability. Any user at any location can view and access files created by anyone, anywhere, at any time.
By supporting NFS and SMB transfer protocols commonly used by most applications, Panzura can plug into existing IT infrastructures without any changes and connect to all major cloud storage platforms, simplifying deployment and minimizing the impact on operations.
The file system dynamically coordinates where files get stored, what gets sent to the cloud, who has edit and access rights, which files get locally cached for improved performance, and how data, metadata, and snapshots are managed. CloudFS’s file system structure has no practical limit for the number of user-managed snapshots.
Panzura’s innovative use of metadata and snapshots for file system updates, combined with unique caching and pinning capabilities in the Panzura nodes — virtualized edge appliances deployed either locally or in the cloud — allows you to view data and interact through an enterprise-wide file system that is continually updated in real-time. Support for extended file system access control lists (ACLs) empowers administrators to set file access and management policies on a per-user basis.
Ultimately, Panzura CloudFS manages all data under a single global file system, simplifying user interaction and system administration while tying into organization applications and targeting both local disk and the cloud. CloudFS can scale to billions of objects and exabytes of capacity while protecting data more effectively than RAID. In addition, due to the discrete scale-out architecture of object storage, drive failures have little impact on data, and self-healing replication functions recover rapidly.
Panzura Data Services offer a powerful SaaS data management solution that provides a single, unified view and management of unstructured data, whether it’s stored in the cloud, on premises, or at the edge. In addition to giving businesses a valuable tool for rapid recovery from ransomware attacks, Panzura Data Services streamlines data management and saves valuable hours of daily IT administrator activity.
The result is the Holy Grail of a global file system: a solution that requires almost no overhead and provides near real-time, continuous rapid updates across all sites. This is the next generation of data visibility.