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There’s a Data Socket in Your Pocket

Mobile Only: Week 31

Benjamin Robbins, an EMF member, is spending the next year working solely from a single mobile device. Each week he shares his thoughts and experience with us on what it means to be mobile-only.

My oldest son is getting to the age where he is beginning to read. He is also learning that it can be a form of entertainment and has taken to reading to his younger brother each night. They both really enjoy the Dr. Seuss books, such as The Cat in the Hat, Yurtle the Turtle, and Green Eggs and Ham. But his absolute favorite at the moment is There’s a Wocket in my Pocket. If you are unfamiliar with the book, here’s how it starts off:

Did you
ever have the feeling
there’s a
in your

…Or a WOSET in your CLOSET?

I feel quite CERTAIN
there’s a JERTAIN
in the CURTAIN

That’s the
kind of house
I live in.

It is fun to watch them laugh at the silly words and imagine the strange world the protagonist of the book lives in. Since I’ve heard the book so many times, I have begun to take creative liberty in its interpretation and relate it back to enterprise mobility.

I will often get asked how I can fit the Galaxy Note, aka the Phablet, in my pocket. Its generous 5.3-inch screen makes for a big phone. Since I really don’t like much of anything in my pockets (one house key, one office key, my license, and a debit card is all I can stand) the answer is easy—I don’t need to make it fit. But most people do put their phone in their pocket. And the device in your pocket is an endpoint to data in your organization. It is both a risk and an opportunity.

So the question is, do you know what is in your house? In the story, the main character has all sorts of imagined characters in his house. He is going around naming them off. But he’s not quite sure what all of them are or if they even exist. This is true for many organizations and their data. They may feel quite certain they have assets to protect and use, but they have never really classified all of it. From a security perspective, there has been too much reliance on the idea that “network” is confined to the within the office walls; it’s security by obscurity. However, mobility makes those walls disappear into thin air. From a use perspective, organizations are not bringing together all the data sets they could. Mobility allows them to deliver that insight anywhere. When it comes to data, you need to know what’s in your house.

Ask yourself this question: If you needed to take action on your data, would you even know what you have? Do you have your data cataloged? When was the last time you did an inventory? Do you do it on a regular basis? Beyond just knowing what data you have, has it been classified? Do you have a data taxonomy for your organization? Not all data is created equal. Without the ability to classify your data assets, you are left in an all or nothing position. Data identification becomes nearly impossible.

Beyond cataloging and classifying, how fresh and relevant is your data? You should put a content management strategy in place. Data should have a life cycle and should be dispositioned correctly when the scheduled time comes. Should it be deleted, archived, or aggregated? Managing data is not only the future of security for organizations but also key to business success. Its role will only grow as computing and predictive capabilities mature. The ability to keep secure what needs to be secure and combine what needs to be combined with other data sets will mean the difference between a competitive advantage and decline.

In the enterprise, device management is not enough. App management alone will not be enough either. As the world of mobility moves towards a seamless integrated ecosystem that eschews the traditional notions of the network, the ability to manage, track, and combine your data is not only an issue of security, but one of organizational health as well. Is your organization ready for that kind of world? What kind of house does your organization live in? Are you able to actually name all your data or do you only have an idea of what you imagine to be there? What will you do with the Data Socket in your Pocket?

Benjamin Robbins is co-founder and Principal at Palador, a firm that focuses on providing strategic guidance to enterprises in the areas of mobility, apps, and data. You can follow him on Twitter. Mr. Robbins resides in Seattle and blogs regularly at

One Comment

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