As technology advances and the amount of data we generate increases exponentially, we cannot overstate the significance of big data across different sectors and industries.
You know, the real driving force behind big data is all about quantifying information. It’s pretty interesting how things have changed. Back then, you’d go for a morning jog without knowing the specifics. But now, you can find out that you covered 7.6 kilometers, took 11,341 steps, and even burned 612 calories during that jog. It’s pretty cool.
However, with the growing reliance on big data comes an increased risk of vulnerabilities and cyber threats. In 2023, cybersecurity concerns related to big data have become critical. This article explores some prominent cybersecurity concerns surrounding big data in the current landscape.
Big data defined
Big data is a blanket term used to describe large and complex data sets. It’s a popular phrase to describe the constant growth and availability of structured and unstructured data.
Gartner analyst Doug Lancy in his 2001 research report entitled “3D Management: Controlling Data Volume, Velocity, and Variety”, defined data growth challenges and opportunities as being three-dimensional:
1) Volume (the increasing amount of data)
2) Velocity (the speed of data in and out)
3) Variety (the range of data types and sources)
The industry still uses this “3Vs” model for describing big data.
Do I have big data? And if so, what do I do with it?
Most likely, you do. Organizations everywhere have big data of all shapes and sizes. Specifically, big data relates to any data creation, storage, retrieval, and analysis of data sets so large and complex that they are impractical to manage with traditional software tools. Sound familiar?
Here are a few examples of businesses in the private sector that gather big data:
- Amazon.com –shares over 45% of the total US e-commerce market.
- Facebook – handles over 350 million photos
- OpenAI- has been visited over 1.8 billion times as of March 2023.
- Google – processes over 99,000 queries every second. That’s about 8.5 billion daily
We generate approximately 328.77 million terabytes daily based on the most recent estimates. When we measure this in zettabytes, it comes out to an annual figure of 120 zettabytes, equivalent to 10 zettabytes each month, 2.31 zettabytes per week, or about 0.33 zettabytes generated daily. An incredible amount of data is being created, encompassing various forms of newly generated, captured, copied, or consumed information.
Why should big data cybersecurity matter to you?
For several compelling reasons, big data cybersecurity is highly significant to your organization’s operations. Firstly, the huge volume of data sourced and stored by different organizations exposes them to cyber threats. Data breaches can result in financial losses, legal liabilities and reputational damages. You can invest in robust cybersecurity measures to protect your critical data, maintain your stakeholders’ and customers’ trust and secure your overall business operations.
Secondly, big data usually includes sensitive and personally identifiable information(PII). With the establishment of data privacy regulations such as the CCPA and GDPR, organizations must comply to guarantee the privacy and security of the data they source. Those who fail to comply risk fines and penalties. Prioritizing big data cybersecurity will show your organization’s commitment to regulatory compliance, data privacy and mitigation of legal risk and financial consequences.
Lastly, as a valuable resource, big data can give your organisation the actionable insights and competitive advantage you need. However, securing your big data guarantees the integrity and confidentiality of your data. This way, you can leverage advanced analytics and make data-driven decisions to improve your operations and bottom line. A strong cybersecurity framework ensures the reliability and accuracy of the data, enabling organizations to make informed and strategic business decisions based on trustworthy information.
Big data cybersecurity concerns of 2023
In 2023, big data presents several cybersecurity concerns organizations must address to protect their valuable data assets. These concerns include:
Data breaches and unauthorized access
With the proliferation of big data, organizations face an increased risk of unauthorized access attempts and data breaches. Attackers constantly seek ways to exploit data storage and vulnerabilities in process systems to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. The potential consequences of data breaches are severe, including financial losses, reputational damage, and regulatory penalties. We recommend implementing formidable security measures, such as access controls, encryption and monitoring tools to secure your big data infrastructure from unauthorized access.
Insider threats continue to be a significant concern in big data cybersecurity. Malicious insiders, including employees, contractors, or partners, can abuse their authorized access to data for personal gain or to cause harm to the organization. These individuals may steal sensitive information, manipulate data, or disrupt business operations. We recommend implementing strict access controls to mitigate insider threats, regularly monitoring user activities, and providing comprehensive employee training on data security and ethical behavior.
Inadequate data governance
Effective data governance is essential for maintaining the security and integrity of big data. However, many organizations still struggle with establishing proper data governance frameworks, leaving their data vulnerable to cyber threats. Poor data governance practices can lead to unsecured data repositories, improper data classification, and inadequate data lifecycle management. To address this concern, your organization should develop comprehensive data governance policies, including data classification, access controls, and data retention guidelines, while ensuring compliance with relevant regulations like the GDPR or CCPA.
Advanced persistent threats (APTs)
Big data systems often store a vast amount of valuable information, making them prime targets for Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). APTs are sophisticated, targeted attacks launched by well-funded, highly skilled threat actors. These attacks aim to gain persistent access to a network or system, remaining undetected for extended periods. Once inside, APTs can exfiltrate sensitive data, exploit vulnerabilities, and compromise the integrity of big data infrastructure. Your organization must deploy advanced threat detection and response mechanisms, including behavior analytics, anomaly detection, and regular security audits, to counter APTs effectively.
Privacy and compliance
Collecting, storing, and analyzing big data often involve personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive data. Your organization must comply with regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Failure to meet these regulatory requirements can have significant legal and financial consequences. You must prioritize data anonymization, obtain explicit user consent for data processing, and implement robust privacy frameworks to protect the privacy rights of individuals whose data is part of big data sets.
The growth of big data presents tremendous opportunities and significant cybersecurity challenges for organizations. The risks of data breaches, insider threats, inadequate data governance, advanced persistent threats (APTs), and privacy concerns surrounding big data in 2023 cannot be ignored. To protect data assets, your organization must adopt comprehensive security strategies. By partnering with a trusted and expert advisor in cybersecurity services, risk and compliance services, and security program services, you can surpass the capabilities of your managed service provider (MSP). This partnership will enable you to implement right-sized management consulting, custom learning and training programs, and technology change management initiatives. Together, you can proactively address these cybersecurity concerns, safeguard data confidentiality, integrity, and availability, and fully leverage the power of big data while remaining compliant. Choose to work with a trusted partner who can provide expertise and support to enhance your organization’s security posture.
Reference: Big Data, Big Risks: How Startups Can Safeguard Their Customers’ Information