It can be said that big data is “no respecter of persons” because it’s impact on individuals and organizations is the same. Using it will either give you a competitive edge or (heaven forbid) damage your upstanding reputation.
Computer viruses, mobile malware, and all the fear and headaches that come with breaches in security plague an otherwise fruitful digital marketplace. It must be emphasized that as technology continues to improve, hackers and cyber criminals continue to improve their malicious strategies to infiltrate, impersonate, steal, infect or gather sensitive information without consent.
And now that information is being gathered in huge amounts and stored for later use, this means that any data stolen or corrupted by hackers renders the public even more vulnerable than ever before. It is imperative that we do more to protect ourselves if we are going to flourish in this age of big data. We must consider top-level data security, including the latest and best cybersecurity software to protect our information.
What is Big Data?
Data that is being gathered and stored in larger and larger amounts for eventual analysis is called “big data.” Big data can be structured or unstructured. It can be a steady stream of incoming data that inundates an organization on a daily basis, or it can be a stream of data that pours in depending upon what’s trending on a daily, seasonal or event-triggered basis.
According to SAS.com, industry analyst Doug Laney defined big data as “The Three V’s”, outlined as follows:
The volume of useful information by way of social media, business transactions, and other local and remote data sources, which can be mined by organizations.
The speed of these data streams is known as velocity, and real-time requirements call for efficient and timely consumption.
A variety of audible, visual and textual data, both structured and unstructured, often needs to be fused to link or complete missing information.
SAS.com goes on to add two additional factors by which big data can be measured:
Variability, which describes the inconsistency in data as it relate to trends.
The variety of data from multiple data sources creates complexity.
Why Big Data is Important
There is so much information being gathered and stored that one would wonder if the world will run out of physical space to house it! Big data allows organizations to reduce costs while taking advantage of smart decision making and new ways to develop products.
Big data can also be used to accomplish real-time tasks like determining the root cause of failures and defects, and monitoring user behavior to increase security and sales. Laser-focused advertising, smart cars which limit accidents and collisions, and wearable and implantable devices are just a few things made possible through the power of big data.
These possibilities and more are the biggest reasons that it is imperative to implement a solid data security plan for big data use, including the purchase and maintenance of quality cyber security software.
Big Data Challenges
To be successful in marketplaces that are increasingly digital, taking advantage of big data is arguably essential. The primary challenge, however, is privacy. Because it contains large bodies of personal identifiable information, big data, if breached, can be more consequential than a typical hack.
Breaches of “big data” magnitude will affect more people, and may eventually damage or ruin the reputation of organizations that store such information. A breach in big data could even lead to legal action.
There are many challenges surrounding the collection and use of big data. Here are a few of the bigger ones, in no particular order:
No more anonymity. Data collectors are often lost when it comes to removing unique identifiers. Typically, these should be stripped to anonymize the information being collected. And even if they are, it may not be enough to ensure the data remains anonymous. That’s because when organizations are ready to use the information, they will typically need to re-identify it so that it can be used for what it was collected for. Sound complicated? It is!
Establishing ownership of information. No one knows who owns the information about you that is being culled relentlessly and stored for future use. Do you own it…or do the institutions storing the information own it? And even if they don’t, how do you keep them from using it? These are enduring questions surrounding the philosophy of big data.
Those annoying data breaches. We hear about them all the time: Target, eBay, P.F. Chang, Home Depot and other huge companies suddenly send you an email telling you to change your password ASAP because your sensitive information may have been compromised. Even the infamous website AshleyMadison.com suffered an embarrassing data breach that is still terrifying individuals who have a reputation to protect, and busting up families even as this article goes to press.
Cyber Security Solutions for Big Data
Computer security software (also known as cybersecurity software) is any software program that has been created and designed to enhance and/or protect information. Some proven data security solutions have already been covered in our
Access control is the selective restriction of access to data, as defined by roles and privileges of the users.
Anti-keyloggers is software designed to detect and sometimes delete (and immobilize) keylogger programs.
Anti-malware software protects against infections caused by viruses, worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, keyloggers, ransomware and adware.
Anti-spyware software is like its anti-malware counterpart, but specifically targets spyware through detection, prevention and removal.
Anti-subversion software detects and halts programs that tamper with source code and other mechanisms for altering software behavior and creating unintended actions.
Anti-tamper software detects and reverse malware that is engineered to make a program malfunction or not operate at all if modified.
Cryptographic software uses cryptography to prevent unauthorized access to digital information.
A Sandbox is a virtual space in which new or untested software can be run securely.
Other security solutions include making use of a firewall, installing an intrusion detection system (IDS) or intrusion prevention system (IPS), implementing security information management procedures, and using log management software.
Big data and the use thereof has its pros and cons, but since it—like all other technology—is here to stay, it is probably best to focus on the pros and learn how to protect the information collected as much as possible. In other words, users (companies, government entities, etc.) should make it their business to stay abreast of the latest big data threats and options for thwarting them. Individuals, on the other hand, should remain mindful of their privacy and just who they are giving permission to mine their data.