Big Data Security Issues

The challenges of Big Data security are as numerous as its sources of information.

Big Data involves an enormous amount of information, gathered from a wide spectrum of sources, and made easily and rapidly available to a host of different industries and organizations for use in many capacities. The data comes in many forms, from old-school pen and paper surveys to RFID transponders sending information about the location of people’s pets.

With such a vast amount of information flying around, naturally there are bound to be questions about just how secure it all is. Let’s take a look at some Big Data security issues.

No System Is Perfect

First of all, when you’re talking about Internet security, it needs to be said right up front that there’s no such thing as a hacker-proof system. As the article “Don’t Let Security Concerns Impact Use Of Big Data” points out, there have always been information leaks in business.

That means that while every security measure that can be taken should be taken, people shouldn’t allow the lack of infallibility prevent them from availing themselves of the benefits of Big Data.

Where Is The Info Being Stored?

Big Data is disseminated and consequently stored in multiple places. It’s hard to protect data from wrongful use or corruption when said data is being sent all over the place. Companies need to have the means of keeping track of where that data lands. This leads to another issue …

How Do We Monitor Access?

Big Data is a complex thing, making it difficult to monitor who is accessing the information and what they’re doing to it. For instance, are only properly authorized users accessing the information, or is it somehow open to everyone in the company? For that matter, on the other side of the coin, are there people who need the data who are being locked out for some reason?

Constant Hacker Attacks

On April 1, 2014, a new bug was released which exposed a big weakness in the OpenSSL cryptographic software library. The bug was called “Heartbleed”, and it allowed anyone on the Internet to read system memories that were protected by certain vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. Heartbleed allowed hackers to steal data (content, passwords, user names), eavesdrop on communications, and even impersonate users and services. Truly, a security breach of epic proportions.

Fortunately, there was a solution, the creation of Fixed Open SSL. But the point is that data is constantly under the threat of being compromised. When you have companies using Big Data in order to create business strategies, the last thing they need is to have their information hacked and sold to competitors.

In Diversity There Is Weakness

It’s difficult to implement a one size fits all security solution when there are just too many different data sources out there that need protecting. One data source may benefit by password protection, but another may not even have the means for passwords to be utilized in the first place. How can you create a uniform security procedure when you’re up against that? In order to achieve the best level of Big Data security, every information source, every kind of data, must be considered eventually.

There Are Solutions Out There

Still, there is hope. Businesses that want to protect their data must implement a blend of policies and technologies that best address their individual security needs and concerns, since every business is different and uses different tools.

For example, cloud data storage is becoming an increasingly integral part of Big Data. The article “Is The Cloud Just Full Of Hot Air?”, notes that the cloud “is creating new opportunities for businesses of all sizes, making big companies more efficient and helping smaller businesses remain competitive against the big guys.” Why should a budding small business deprive itself of the benefits of cloud computing because of security fears, especially given the cloud’s role in Big Data utilization?

Having solid policies in place that govern which employees can access what data, backed up with solid encryption and firewall technology, and topped off with a sane system of password creation, can go a long way to allaying the majority of Big Data security issues.