By now, everyone on the planet (well, perhaps save the preserved Mashco-Piro tribe in the Peruvian Amazon) has heard of the infamous 2014 Yahoo data breach that affected over 3 billion user accounts and hurled Yahoo into cyber obscurity. The once $100 billion company established in 1994 was sold for pennies on the dollar to Verizon at an estimated $4.3 billion.
The Yahoo breach was the worst in a long line of security breaches that also blind-sided seemingly impenetrable corporate magnates such as eBay, Equifax, Heartland Payment Systems, Marriott International, Adobe, and Uber.
Most of these breaches occurred before the emergence of Big Data — either as a coined phrase, concept, or industry-wide practice.
Just like the Internet of Things (IoT), smart automation, and AI, Big Data is now at the forefront of cyber technology and is quickly turning into the modèle primaire of data acquisition, processing, and analysis. Big Data is still in its infancy and has yet to be decisively confirmed as a feasible mechanism for extracting value or meaning out of massive amounts of information. Still, there’s no denying its last appeal and widespread use in virtually every industry worldwide.
Like its digital predecessors, however, companies that utilize Big Data to gather and store information will ultimately render themselves vulnerable to security and privacy challenges much in the same way as Yahoo.
What are some of the most significant security issues that Big Data users will face?
Single layer protection
Most companies do not realize that there is a thin line of defense that separates their secure data from hackers waiting to break into the network. Therefore, they rely on a single layer of protection such as antivirus software, third-party email system, or username/password setup to guard their information, without giving much thought to their vulnerability.
Companies need to incorporate a layered defense within-a-defense strategy that addresses both internal and external threats to security to prevent unauthorized access of Big Data. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) create multi-layer protection by redirecting a hacker to a different IP address while building a secondary tunnel behind the user’s online platform. This virtual tunnel shields the Data as it travels from its point of origin to its destination.
Data transfers through multiple devices
When most people think of Big Data, they conjure up images of scientists sitting in a room with computers the size of the old computation devices of the 1960s analyzing large of chunks of data as the machines spit them out onto the floor.
However, Big Data can be retried, viewed, and utilized on almost any stationary or remote device to a certain degree. This transference of data requires additional levels of security and monitoring to ensure that the data is not intercepted en route from one device to the next.
Unfortunately, many companies may rely on cheap VPNs or lifetime subscription services to achieve additional security. Unfortunately, these types of VPNs do not provide monitoring as part of their service. A reputable virtual private network provider will monitor all data and devices at all times to optimize the additional layer of security both internally and externally.
Granular access control
Some data may come with restrictions or hidden information that users cannot access. This information is referred to as granular data. The reason why the data is difficult to obtain is that big data technology cannot access restricted information.
While some of these restrictions are necessary for the privacy of the owner, other restrictions — particularly complex granular solution may contain data that can cause harm to a system. It can either release a virus or affect the system’s maintenance and overall performance.
When a system sends or receives data, both the sender or point of origin, and the receiver or destination should have an encryption process set in place to ensure that the data is from a trustworthy source. Unfortunately, many users overlook this process to save time or money. Lack of authentication can cause a massive breach that is difficult to trace or detect until after the data is intercepted.
A VPN can encode data so that a specified point of origin, i.e., a cloud or computer with a decoder can read and utilize the data as it is coming in. By using an encryption key, the receiver can initiate the transfer process and validate the source. There are multiple ways that a VPN can encrypt and authenticate data.
The rapid evolution of big data technology
As the demand for Big Data continues to skyrocket, so does the need for specified applications. Therefore, technology such as NoSQL databases continually evolves at a staggering pace to keep up with the market. Advanced data server infrastructure must be able to process insights from an infinite number of data points with speed, security, and reliability. The infrastructure must include security measures that guard information throughout every step of the process.
While developers may understand this technology, corporate IT staff must undergo a sharp learning curve to implement and use the technology within their company. Failure to create a secure connection can result in a breach within the network.
A VPN can provide the added layer of protection even if the organization is not adequately prepared for potential cyber threats within the new technology.
IT auditors have consistently relied on outdated standard analysis tools to evaluate the security of their networks and the data within their systems. Big Data has rendered these tools virtually useless on almost every level. The enormity of Big Data makes it impossible for conventional software to process and analyze the information. This process becomes even more complicated as companies gather sizable volumes of both structured and unstructured data.
One way for companies to analyze data is by setting up a VPN. Auditors can collaborate with VPN specialists to determine predefined parameters or alerts that both identify and isolate certain events or unauthorized users. Some VPNs offer logging services upon request so that companies can keep track of activity.
A VPN allows users to act promptly upon insights as they are attained. Therefore, when a breach attempt is detected, both the VPN provider and the company can respond quickly to counter the attack with a defense strategy.