2021 Predictions from James Beecham, founder and CTO of ALTR

Entirely new technologies are emerging that take a different approach to data protection. Making it part of the design of any applications that create and use it. Traditional security measures are implemented into the infrastructure that any data uses, like toll booths and barriers on a highway.

We’re starting to see solutions that embed guidance and security into applications we use or natively integrated into cloud databases, like putting smart safety technology into the cars on that highway or the highway itself. That way, those applications can go anywhere, on any road—even a road in the cloud—and still be safe. This will be a big change, because it lets IT do what IT does best, which is to optimize infrastructure around cost, delivery, efficiency and innovation, without worrying about securing data. They can take any road and know they are safe.

IaaS providers, like AWS, Azure, GCP and others should be weaponized by developers, and devops teams alike, in 2021 to accelerate the speed and accuracy of development. There is nothing more frustrating for a developer than knowing the solution to a problem, but also knowing the hills you need to climb just to test that solution. That may include either manually building a dataset; or worse, having to revert your test environment manually to different versions, so you can accurately reproduce the issue. Using tools like Terraform or Ansible, and allowing developers to gain control of their environment, are signals that your business will succeed in the coming years, as your developers can spend less time preparing to fix problems, and more time fixing those problems.

With the global rush to implement privacy regulations and the growing adoption of cloud data, people, and businesses alike, must face the reality that blindly letting applications and users to access data will be the death of their career (best case) or business (worse case). If you cannot accurately report to your compliance/privacy team, outside investigators or regulators, on who is accessing data or why they are accessing that data, you are being irresponsible.

For years we have been afraid to ‘turn on’ database logging, because of the impact it could have on performance. Well, protecting your performance requirements is not going to be much of a defense when you are in front of the CCPA fine committee. Using application level, or implementing integrated, out of band, data access observability into a database will be a requirement for building a future proof business. Cloud databases and warehouses are making this easy. Don’t be lazy.


James Beecham
James Beecham is a Computer Engineer and Entrepreneur. James co-founded ALTR, an information security startup, where he currently works as CTO and has been issued two patents on ALTR’s proprietary technology. Previously, James worked at Dash Financial as the technology R&D lead, where he developed risk layers and algorithmic protocols for Dash’s electronic trading platform. He also worked as an embedded systems engineer at Texas Memory Systems, prior to its acquisition by IBM. James graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, where his focus was embedded systems.

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