Ben Hatton Data Cave Wins the 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Award

All of us at Data Cave are incredibly honored to have won the Entrepreneur of the Year award at this year’s Columbus Venture Awards! This event honors several local businesses and business leaders in the Columbus community for their innovation, leadership, and successes. Data Cave was one of three great companies nominated for the award. Here are all of the event’s winners: 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year award

New and Emerging Business: HK Auto

Innovation: Cybermetrix

Entrepreneur of the Year: Data Cave

Business Advocate of the Year: Gordon Lake

The companies nominated for each award were carefully selected from over 2,000 Columbus Chamber members, and the winners were chosen through an even more careful deliberation process. Even being nominated for such an honor was a very big deal for us, but winning it was simply thrilling!

Zack, Patrick, and Ben represented Data Cave at the event, and it was a positively great experience. In addition to spending the evening with many inspiring local business leaders, Dr. John Wall, Chief Technical Officer at Cummins, gave a speech on his own experience stepping out with risky business undertakings. It was great hearing about his many different experiences at Cummins, and why the ability to innovate and take risks is essential to their business model. The ability to innovate and take risks are vital in our industry as well, and they are things that we have taken to heart as our business has grown over the past several years.

Winning this award was an absolute honor for all of us at Data Cave, and we would like to congratulate the other winners, as well as all of the companies who were nominated. We are proud to be a part of such an excellent community!

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Ben Hatton How does the world feel about Data Privacy?

EMC Privacy Index infographic

This infographic represents many of the significant findings of the study (click for a larger version).

I recently read the 2014 EMC Privacy Index that was released a couple of months ago, and the questions it raises concerning data privacy are so relevant today that I wanted to dedicate a post to it. If you are unfamiliar with the study, it seeks to provide a pulse of how people around the world view their own data, as well as how they view the companies that store and use their data.  The survey involved 15,000 people in 15 different countries, and covered virtually all of the different types of interactions and transactions people have online. You can check out the study in its entirety here.

I want to really focus in on the 3 major “paradoxes” that were recognized from the results of this study, and look at the questions that they raise.

Paradox #1: We want to have our cake and eat it too, when it comes to our privacy.

The study revealed that, although people the world over are spending more and more time online shopping, banking, working and communicating, very few are willing to give up much if any private information in exchange for enhancing those experiences. Types of this private information includes things like search history, past purchases, places you’ve visited, and more, and when this data is collected, it can help improve the ease and speed of using different online services (if you don’t believe me then try using Google Now for a little while). However, here is what the study found:

  1. 91% of those surveyed place a high value on having quick and easy access to information online that is relevant to them.
  2. Just 27% of those people said they were willing to provide some amount of private information in order to make those online interactions faster and easier.

I think the adage of “having your cake and eating it too” is probably the best way to describe this paradox, since it’s not exactly realistic to expect a high level of ease when using online services, without the willingness to share at least some level of information that will help make that experience possible.

Paradox #2: Many of us have experienced a data breach at some point, but we don’t do much to keep it from happening again.

Dubbed the “take no action” paradox, the study also found that the majority of us have experienced a data breach at some point in our lives (60% of those surveyed), but we don’t take many preventative actions to prevent such breaches from occurring again. They found that:

  1. 62% of us don’t regularly change our passwords.
  2. 39% don’t enable password protection on our phones.
  3. 33% don’t adjust or customize the privacy settings on our social media accounts.
  4. When asked about how they would rank the top risks to the future of data privacy, respondents ranked businesses who sell their data, as well as low federal regulation as the highest risks to privacy, while ranking personal oversight of their own data as a very low risk (only 11%).

These stats indicate to me that there is a majority of people who believe the burden of protecting personal data lies on the companies who use that data and the government, but not on the individual. This is certainly troubling, and it’s reinforced by the 3rd paradox:

Paradox #3: We have no problem with sharing our personal lives on social media, even when we have very little trust in how they handle our data.

The final paradox reveals that we share tons of personal information on sites like Twitter and Facebook. While that’s no surprise in itself, we share this information while having very little confidence in both the abilities and ethics of social media companies.

  1. 51% of us have confidence in the ability of social media companies to protect our privacy.
  2. Only 39% have trust in their ethics concerning our privacy.

What these paradoxes mean

I feel that these paradoxes all point to one core issue, which is a significant disconnect between expectations and reality on data privacy. We expect great online experiences, but the reality is that sometimes some data must be shared for that to be possible. We expect companies to never have a data breach, but the reality is that breaches do happen, and we need to take measures to protect ourselves. We expect (or at least hope) social media companies to put a priority on our privacy, but the reality is this just isn’t always the case.

I think the burden to address this disconnect falls on both us as individuals, and on companies:

  1. Individuals: We should regularly be thinking about our data privacy, and taking charge of what types of information we share, who we share it with, and how we can best protect it.
  2. Companies: Companies that collect and use personal data of their customers really need to step up and prove that that data is valued by them as something to be protected, and deliver on that with action and policies that center around data protection and privacy.

At the end of the day, data privacy is a 2-way street, and with some knowledge and action on both sides, I think the issues surrounding it can become more concrete and less paradoxical.

What are your thoughts on privacy? I’m definitely curious to hear what others think on the subject as well. Feel free to leave a comment below!


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Ben Hatton Congratulations to Nicole Holcomb!

Nicole Holcomb

Nicole getting ready for the competition!

As you may have read in an earlier blog post, Data Cave was a proud sponsor of local CrossFit coach and athlete, Nicole Holcomb to this year’s Reebok CrossFit Games in California. Now that the games are over for this year, we all wanted to congratulate her for her amazing accomplishments!  She showed admirable dedication and determination throughout the entire competition.

Her determination especially paid off during the “Push-Pull” event, where she earned 2nd place out of 42 women with a total time of 5:10.12. It was definitely awesome to watch! You can check out a few photos from the event on our Facebook page. In addition, the CrossFit Games will be re-played throughout the year on ESPN as the “Fittest on Earth” contest.

All of us at Data Cave are incredibly proud to support Nicole’s journey to the Games, and we are excited to see what she does next! You can keep up to date with Nicole by checking out her new blog at

Nicole Holcomb opened her own CrossFit gym in the fall of 2011. She is the co-owner and coach of 812 CrossFit in Columbus, Indiana. Her certifications and seminars include: CrossFit Level 1 (CF-L1) Trainer, CrossFit Movement and Mobility, and Bob Takano Olympic Weightlifting. Interested in Crossfit, or just getting healthier? Check out their website:


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Ben Hatton A Discussion on Net Neutrality

Net neutrality has always been a hotly-debated issue in the tech world, and as our digital lifestyles have evolved over the past several years, the debate has as well. The question of whether or not the Internet should be federally regulated in some way is a point of contention for many, and it was the big question posed at a panel discussion I attended in Indianapolis last month. The TechPoint event brought together 3 experts in the internet services field to discuss the pros and cons of a completely “neutral” Internet vs. one that is regulated by the FCC. The speakers were:

Bret Swanson: President at Entropy Economics.

Darby McCarty: President at Smithville Communications.

Barry Umansky: Telecommunications Professor at Ball State University, and formerly with the FCC. He served as Moderator for the discussion.

Before the panel opened, I already had some knowledge about net neutrality, as well as some opinions about it, but there were still several interesting insights that were discussed that I hadn’t really considered before.

The Internet has changed the world BECAUSE of non-regulation

The Internet’s existence has been the single largest factor in moving forward virtually every facet of our society today: how we communicate, how we work, shop, and engage with others around the world. This explosive growth that the world has seen year after year has largely been possible due to the fact that the Internet hasn’t been federally regulated up to this point. In fact, in 2005 the FCC released a set of “open internet principles” that were intended to prevent internet service providers from denying or slowing access to certain services or devices (you can check out the 2005 policy itself here).

This original stance on the FCC’s part helped allow the Internet to continue growing into both our personal and work lives (something that would be especially realized when the first iPhone was released just a couple of years later). With a non-regulatory approach, the Internet was able to grow quickly through bold ideas and innovation, rather than slowly because of burdensome rules and regulations.

The Internet is continually evolving, which is part of the reason some want regulation

More and more the Internet has evolved into every type of technology we interact with everyday, from our phones and cars to even our kitchen appliances. This growth has occurred at a blistering pace, and has put the Internet in a place that is far ahead of what was thought possible in 2005. While this has been a great thing for the way we work and play, it has also introduced a new set of challenges into our world, such as illegal content sharing and online privacy concerns.

It has also led to the question of whether or not the Internet should be regulated in some form as a result of these challenges; after all, if we don’t take the first steps now, couldn’t these issues become exponentially worse in the coming years? That question, combined with the growth costs faced by internet service providers, has been at the heart of those who are proponents of Internet regulation. Exactly what that regulation could like though isn’t quite clear.

The “Internet Fast Lane” debate

One of the biggest points of opposition that net neutrality supporters have against regulation is that it would give a higher level of authority to ISP’s over the internet speeds they offer to different customers. For example, if you’re a business owner who wants an edge on your competition, you could in theory pay your ISP more to allow for faster access to your website or online services you may provide. The argument is that this so-called “internet fast lane” would have the potential to stifle competition and make it difficult for startups with small budgets to get a foothold, and could also result in the end users having to pay more to larger companies who can afford to be in the “fast lane” (Netflix being a good example of this).

This was a question that I and others raised to the panelists, and the response was certainly something I hadn’t considered. Rather than assuming that these “fast lanes” would be inherently bad for startups, Mr. Swanson looked at it from a different angle, asserting that there are likely many small companies or startups out there that would prefer to pay for a faster and more dedicated connection, in order to deliver their new high-end services as efficiently as possible. He went on to say that while such an arrangement could be possible with some level of federal regulation, this is something that wouldn’t be possible or legal if the original principles established by the FCC in 2005 were followed. This tweet from TechPoint on the comment sums it up pretty well:

I can definitely understand his point, and I think it may be true to a point, but ultimately I think history will decide whether regulation or true net neutrality wins out. Overall though this was an excellent event to attend, and I learned a ton on the subject. I really encourage you to watch the full discussion on YouTube if you want to learn more yourself!

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Ben Hatton Keys to Migrating Your Business Data to a new Data Center

Data migration

Before you migrate any of your data, please plan accordingly. (Image courtesy of AHA-Soft)

In a recent blog post I covered a few methods for making a data center migration go as smoothly as possible (you can check out the “Keys to a Successful Data Center Migration” post here). While that post focused on the physical equipment side of a migration, now I’d like to take it a step further, and look at the migration of the actual data. Your data is ultimately the reason for performing a data center migration in the first place, and there are many considerations and challenges to keep in mind when performing a data migration to a new location. But with proper planning, you can migrate your data as well as your equipment with minimal headache.

Here are some guidelines to help get you started!

Create backups! (and be smart with them)

Whenever you are migrating any amount of data as part of a data center migration, it is absolutely crucial that you create backups of all the data being moved. This allows you to mitigate any data loss that can potentially occur in the event of a hardware failure or unforeseen software issue during the migration. When it comes to actually creating and working with your backups, here are a few pointers:

  1. Make sure that they are as current as possible, so you won’t be forced to work with out of date data if you have to restore to a backup.
  2. Have a  plan in place for how you will actually perform a restore from your backups at the new location, should any issues arise. Having backups is good, but they don’t count for very much if you aren’t able to efficiently restore your data from them.
  3. Speaking of efficiency, aim to have your backups at the new location well in advance of the migration. Doing this will ensure that they are readily on hand and available, if and when you need them.

Communicate effectively with all parties

It is very important to communicate with your connectivity provider(s), as well as any vendors or companies you have a service level agreement with, well in advance of your data center migration. While they may not necessarily play a part in the actual migration, at the very least you should make them aware that a migration is taking place, when it’s taking place, and where your new data center is located. This way, they will be able to respond more quickly and accurately (ie. at the right location) should any issues arise.

Test and refine

Once you have created your data migration plan, you will want to test each step of the plan thoroughly. In addition to the actual migration plan you create, there are some things you can consider that will help ensure that you test in a way that’s as realistic as possible to how your actual migration will be handled. Here are a few tips:

  1. An effective way to test your actual data for a migration is to create a copy of it that will specifically be used for testing (this is commonly referred to as “splitting off a copy”). This allows you to test the migration of your actual business data in a real-world scenario, without the risk of losing that data if an issue arises.
  2. In addition to using a copy of your real data, your test migration should also heavily involve the actual data center location you are moving to. You can do this by isolating a “testing” location within your new data center, and using that as your test migration site; it should ideally be a fully isolated space, yet fully functional.

By making both these data and physical elements of your migration as realistic as possible, you can create a “true to life” testing scenario that will help you to more easily identify potential issues or risks before the real migration takes place.


Migrating your data center (and your business data along with it) is no simple task, but with a bit of proper planning and legwork up front you can ensure that your migration is a successful one. I hope that these pointers will be helpful for you if this is something you will soon be involved with!

For even more information on planning for a data center migration, check out these additional resources:

“Keys to a Successful Data Center Migration” blog post

“Data Center Relocation 101″ whitepaper

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