Buzzword Bracket: Comparing Trending Terms in Data Security

In the spirit of the NCAA March Madness tournament, we’ve decided to create a competitive bracket of our own. Using the content shared by data-driven experts in our 2023 Data Access & Security Trendbook, we’ve collected some of the buzziest contemporary data security concepts and terms to see which are the most relevant to the future of data use.

The matchups will be judged using a collection of quantitative and qualitative measurements, to make sure each buzzword is examined in the context of both the current and future state of data use. We’ll start with our “Expert Elite Eight,” and by examining a range of characteristics, work our way down to the “Final Four” most relevant data buzzwords.

The bracket is as follows:

Buzzword Bracket Matchup Criteria

We’ll be judging each matchup by considering the following factors:

  • Monthly Search Volume (MSV): This quantitative measurement represents the average number of monthly searches for the term over a twelve month period.
  • Search Results: This quantitative measurement examines the number of URLs including the term that pop up in organic search engine results.
  • Expert Recognition: This qualitative measurement takes into account the recognition of the terms/concepts by data-driven industry leaders. It will add some forward-looking context to terms that might still be making their mark in the data space even without high MSVs or search results.

By deciding our matchups using this mix of quantitative and qualitative reasoning, we aim to judge these terms based on both their current relevance and likely future importance to data access, data use, and data security.

Buzzword Matchups: The Expert Elite Eight

Now let’s get into these matchups. We’ll define each term for clarity, and then select our matchup winners based on the aforementioned criteria.

Chief Data Officer vs. Chief Information Security Officer

Chief Data Officer (CDO): MSV 1,900 / 716M Search Results

The CDO, according to Gartner, is a senior-level executive who is responsible for an organization’s data and information strategy, governance, control, policy development, and effective use. This role is ultimately responsible for getting the right data resources into the right hands for effective and controlled resource optimization.

“At the most mature of organizations, we see this evolving into full dedicated data teams led by a Chief Data Officer.”

– Dave DeWalt, Founder, Managing Director, CEO, NightDragon

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): MSV 1,600 / 489M Search Results

The CISO is a senior-level executive who is responsible for the creation and implementation of programs that ensure the overall security of information and data resources, platforms, and tools. They are required to align security measures with business objectives to maximize secure data use while minimizing risk.

“CISOs will need to become the enablers–not the bottlenecks–of the modern data stack.”

– Matt Caroll, Co-Founder & CEO, Immuta

Right out of the gate, we have a very exciting matchup of two data-driven roles that are integral to the success of modern initiatives. The role of Chief Data Officer is well-established at many organizations, and plenty of executive teams place their CDO in charge of their data resources. Even though CDO has the edge with the search volume and results, however, you can never count out an underdog. And with the evolving role of the CISO becoming central to even more data security missions in 2023, they’ll come out of this matchup as the victor.

Winner: Chief Information Security Officer

Data Fabric vs. Data Mesh

Data Fabric: MSV 3,600 / 362M Search Results

Data fabric is defined by IBM as “an architecture that facilitates the end-to-end integration of various data pipelines and cloud environments through the use of intelligent and automated systems.” These architectures collect and organize the data from a range of legacy storage, compute, and analysis systems and present them in one holistic view.

“Data fabric, data mesh, and data-as-a-product methodologies are on the minds of many data professionals.”

– Daniel Howard, Senior Analyst, Bloor Research

Data Mesh: MSV 5,400 / 369M Search Results

The data mesh architecture is an approach that moves away from monolithic data warehouses and lakes in the pursuit of decentralized data management. The goal is to create an architecture in which domain-specific users are responsible for the management and use of their data resources while consistent security, access, and governance controls are applied universally.

“We’re seeing more and more of a hybrid approach to data mesh principles. Central functions that used to be called centers of excellence are now becoming centers of enablement.”

– Antoine Amend, Technical Director, Financial Services, Databricks

Our second matchup pits two up-and-coming data architecture formats against one another. Both data fabric and data mesh have similar search volumes and results, and have become go-to choices for teams looking to dynamically restructure their organization’s data use. While each has its merits and proven successes, data mesh comes out on top as the winner of this matchup due to its higher monthly search volume and continued popularity as a topic of discussion and development.

Winner: Data Mesh

Modern Data Stack vs. Data Security Platform

Modern Data Stack: MSV 1,300 / 162M Search Results

While the construction of modern data stack might vary, the term itself consistently refers to the combination of tools, platforms, and technologies combined to facilitate data collection, storage, and use. These can include compute, storage, security, and analysis tools, among others.

“At the end of the day, monitoring within the modern data stack must evolve to keep pace with the speed of data.”

– Matt Carroll, Co-Founder & CEO, Immuta

Data Security Platform: MSV 140 / 2B Search Results

A data security platform (DSP) is a software that combines various security capabilities into one operational system, with the goal of providing a single point of privacy and protection for the sensitive information in a data ecosystem.

“89% of organizations have implemented or are implementing a data security platform and the other 11% are planning to implement a data security platform in the next 12 months.”

– Forrester, The State of Data Security, 2022

This matchup examines two concepts that are involved in discussions around data tools and platforms. The modern data stack encompasses a broader range of capabilities, as it includes all tools and technologies that an organization needs to make use of their data resources. Data security platforms, in comparison, only cover a specific subset of these tools that are geared specifically towards protecting data. While modern data stack has a much higher MSV, we think that DSP’s massive search results combined with its budding relevance amongst experts and analysts gives it the edge to win this battle.

Winner: Data Security Platform

Data Breach vs. Continuous Security Monitoring

Data Breach: MSV 14,800 / 324M Search Results

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines a data breach as “An incident that involves sensitive, protected, or confidential information being copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen, or used by an individual unauthorized to do so.” These breaches risk the privacy and security of both sensitive data and the individuals who created it.

“DSPs protect data against varied data threats and risks, such as data breaches and unintended disclosure, compliance risks and cyber risks.”

– Gartner, Innovation Insight for Data Security Platforms, 2022

Continuous Security Monitoring: MSV 110 / 166M Search Results

Continuous security monitoring is the practice of consistently observing and recording all user and data actions in an ecosystem in order to remediate risk and become immediately aware of unusual or suspicious behavior. This, in turn, enables practices such as data security posture management and compliance auditing.

“At the end of the day, monitoring within the modern data stack must evolve to keep pace with the speed of data.”

– Matt Carroll, Co-Founder & CEO, Immuta

This matchup gives us a glimpse into a contentious rivalry: harmful, malicious data breaches versus continuous security monitoring geared towards avoiding and mitigating them. Looking at the criteria, data breaches have the clear edge in search volume and results. This gives monitoring a pretty significant hill to climb. However, since avoiding the pains and penalties of data breaches remains in the forefront of both expert and public consciousness, continuous security monitoring is able to squeak out the win as another underdog.

Winner: Continuous Security Monitoring

Buzzword Matchups: The Final Future-Oriented Four

After our Expert Elite Eight, we’re left with four winning concepts and terms:

  1. Chief Information Security Officer
  2. Data Mesh
  3. Data Security Platform
  4. Continuous Security Monitoring

Which of these buzzwords will play the most important role in the future of secure data use? We ran a poll on the Immuta LinkedIn so our followers could choose the most interesting and important concept from these final four. After a few days and some tight competition, the winner of our 2023 Buzzword Bracket with 37% of the vote is:

Data Security Platform

Even with a “winner” of the bracket, it’s important to understand that each of these concepts will develop and be integral to the continued evolution of data use. To see which concepts data leaders are focused on in 2023–and the others that didn’t make it into our bracket–check out the 2023 Data Access & Security Trendbook today.

2023 Data Access & Security Trendbook

See which of these concepts the experts are focusing on in 2023 and beyond.

Get the Trendbook

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