Frank Slootman, Chairman and CEO of Snowflake, takes the stage for a keynote session on the second day of the Snowflake Summit in Las Vegas.

Jun 28 2023

Snowflake Summit 2023: New Capabilities Keep Data Security and Governance in Mind

Several of the product announcements made at this year’s Snowflake Summit are aimed at providing consistent data governance, privacy and security within its platform.

Amid a flurry of announcements, including new partnerships and product enhancements, Snowflake has addressed some persistent data concerns.

On the second day of this year’s Snowflake Summit, Chairman and CEO Frank Slootman announced the company’s new artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities and acknowledged the need to protect the data fueling those efforts.

“When you come from an on-premises world, you have your own security perimeter. When you get to the cloud, that becomes a whole different dynamic,” Slootman explained. The big change Snowflake has made involves bringing workloads inside the perimeter, along with the data. “We brought the workflow platform into the governance perimeter as well. And we call that Snowpark.”

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Snowpark Allows Organizations to Securely Run AI in Containers

According to a Snowflake press release, “containers have emerged as the modern approach to package code in any language to ensure portability and consistency across environments, especially for sophisticated AI/ML models and full-stack data-intensive apps.”

The company’s announced enhancements enable organizations to accelerate the development and creation of workloads that previously would have taken an enormous amount of time and compute power to manage. These workloads were further complicated because they couldn’t be run directly where data is governed. This “makes managing the security of the data being used in any of those scenarios very hard, and sometimes close to impossible,” Snowflake noted.

These limitations led the company to develop Snowpark Container Services, which will enable “developers to deploy, manage and scale containerized workloads (jobs, services, service functions) using secure Snowflake-managed infrastructure with configurable hardware options, such as GPUs.” 

EXPLORE: Find out what your organization should know about containerization.

Torsten Grabs, senior director of product management at Snowflake, called the new container services the most exciting announcement of this year’s summit.

“It's just such a fundamental capability that we are releasing with that, and it's opening so many doors for us and our customers to create more value with their data.”

 “We've been talking about bringing the work to your data for a very, very long time. But there were all of these little reasons that motivated customers to not do that and, rather, create data silos somewhere else. I think those days are over now,” Grabs said.

Snowflake’s Container Services Can Help Reduce Complexity

Complexity is really harmful for organizations because it slows everyone down, it creates risk and creates additional cost. But our philosophy has been to provide one single integrated product experience across all of the various capabilities that we offer,” Grabs explained.

That philosophy extends to the way Snowflake thinks about containerized compute.

“We want to make this as simple and straightforward as possible, and then help our customers to have fewer and fewer silos in their data stack,” Grabs said. “And by virtue of having fewer silos, reduce complexity for their overall data architecture.”

DISCOVER: Find out how CDW can help your organization with data analytics solutions.

“This single product philosophy actually carries forward in the way we’re thinking about security for our containerized, compute offerings,” he continued. “The same role-based access control that you have — that we literally apply to all of our concepts — that also applies to Snowpark Container Services.”

The offering is designed to help minimize complexity by eliminating the numerous security policies applicable in an environment employing multiple platforms. “This is exactly what we would like to avoid, as we want to have the same consistent security governance and privacy philosophy across the board and apply the same concepts everywhere,” Grabs said.

Torsten Grabs
Complexity is really harmful for organizations because it slows everyone down, it creates risk and creates additional cost.”

Torsten Grabs Senior Director of Product Management, Snowflake

Automation, Consistency and Collaboration Can Improve Data Security

In another panel discussion focused on data security, Richard Marcus, vice president of information security at AuditBoard, noted the data security advantages that Snowflake provides. “Snowflake brings centralization and standardization. So, you know, it’s that one single place where you can make sure that data security and data privacy and data governance are applied consistently across your different data products.”

Marcus said his organization has benefited from Snowflake’s use of automation for security purposes. “One of the areas where we see Snowflake has been really helpful is with the automation of some evidence collection. It’s there when you need it — you know, some of the continuous monitoring capabilities that we can build on top of it,” he said. “And then, some of the more complex querying of that data and testing of that data, we've seen a lot of value come out of automating detection.”

Omer Singer, head of cybersecurity strategy at Snowflake, led the panel discussion and pointed out the value of collaboration between security and data teams. “That reminds me just how valuable it can be for security teams to get into the data game, just from a data security perspective,” he said. “A security team that is kind of swimming in its security data lake is going to be better positioned for data security.”

Keep this page bookmarked for articles and videos from the event, follow us on Twitter @BizTechMagazine and join the event conversation at #SnowflakeSummit.

Photography by Joe Kuehne

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