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June 9, 2020updated 10 Jun 2020 9:31am

Police Scotland: Our Datasets Are a Sprawling Mess, Send Help

Start on-premises, then shift to cloud later...

By CBR Staff Writer

Scotland’s policing authority says it needs help organising, securing and analysing a sprawling 100TB of unstructured data — and is dangling a £6 million contract for the vendors that can help.

The Scottish Police Authority (pssssst: running an HTTP website? You should probably fix that*) is also sitting on a further 60TB of structured data, but has compliance and security concerns about it.

The authority wants to run analytics on the data via a virtual data warehouse; pulling intelligence to operational systems.

That’s according to a new set of contract notices published today (June 9), which reveal plans to conduct a major overhaul of Police Scotland’s data strategy over the next four-seven years.

Police Scotland Data Strategy: What’s Needed?

The tender comes as Police Scotland embarks on a broader modernisation drive. (Its £1.08 billion budget for 2019-2020 included funds for “10,000 mobile devices to access information remotely”).

The national police force earlier this year also controversially deployed a number of encryption-busting cyber “kiosks” that let officers crack smartphone passwords and pull data from them for analysis.

Read this: Scottish Police Roll Out Encryption-Busting Cyber Kiosks

Now it is seeking tools across three different lots: 1) data discovery, 2) metadata management, and 3) “forcewide” analytics project.

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These will be a mixture of software/IT systems and support for them and should be able to pivot from an initial on-premises environment to be “deployable, in part or in whole, on a private or public hosted cloud environment at a later date.” (Cloud-only SaaS vendors, look away).

1: Data Discovery

The Scottish Police Authority, which is procuring, said it has over 160TB of data to work with and needs to identify and drive “necessary compliance and security activities” as part of the project.

: “[…] there is a need to implement and operationalize [sic] data classification policies to help understand the data security and compliance risk position of Police Scotland and allow that risk to be appropriately assessed and mitigated. For example identify and delete over retained personal data, remediate security vulnerabilities and service DSAR requests.”

It is seeking software licence(s) for a “data discovery solution with annual support and maintenance services.

2: Meta Data

The second part of the tender involves creating an “intelligent metadata layer” which will “provide a deep insight into the service’s rapidly growing data sets as well as maximize the use and value of its data”.

This will require a “meta data management solution” with annual support. Police Scotland needs licences for 50 registered users.

The authority said: “Data governance, data risk and compliance, data security and data analysis are just some of the key use cases that it is expected that a meta data management capability will help support within Police Scotland… thatcapability should be overlaid with machine learning, augmented with human knowledge and integrated the wider data management processes such as master data management and virtualisation.”

3: Force-wide Analytics 

Police Scotland employs data analysts, scientists and statisticians to deliver analysis, dashboards and reports both internally, and to the Scottish Government. It notes: “Currently the data is available from a variety of sources, including a traditional data warehouse, functional reporting data sets and directly from operational systems.”

Access rights and software tools vary, by data source, by individual and by team, it notes, adding that the force is working towards “rapid deployment of easy access to a single view of trusted, linked force-wide data’.

The preferred approach? A virtual data warehouse and a data lake to “facilitate controlled access to all data in all sources in a single view.”

Data virtualisation specialists, step this way.

*Certificate issues happen to all of us… Nobody is immune. 

See also: Certificate Management: Avoiding a World of Pain

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