Big Data Security Risks

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
While everyone is going on about how great big data is, there is also the question of security. In this lesson, we examine the particular risks that come with big data and how it is not as safe as it may first appear.

Why This Matters

More and more, companies are relying on the ability of big data to help solve major problems while providing a way forward. From manufacturing dilemmas to new ideas for sales, big data holds a great deal of promise for helping business move forward in the 21st century. Big data refers to the ability to analyze massive amounts of information, terabytes upon terabytes, in order to draw new conclusions. However, it is far from perfect. In reality, big data has a number of security flaws that require attention. This is especially important because of the simple fact that big data likely has information that pertains to an enormous number of people. If you have a grocery store loyalty card or have bought anything on the Internet, chances are someone has big data about you. Therefore, it is very important that we learn about the reasons that big data is so vulnerable and investigate what is being done about it.

Not Built for Security

Compare a bank and a warehouse. One of them is clearly built to store valuable goods-- a bank has a vault, cameras, and steel bars. A warehouse, on the other hand, is just that: a warehouse. About the only thing it does incredibly well is store large amounts of data. This is the mentality that should be taken when comparing how companies traditionally protected data and how they now look at big data. Simply put, big data cannot fit into the traditional secure structures of more sensitive information, and it is only now that we are starting to see smart companies trying to make big data fit.

Differences in Data

Of course, it's not big data's fault. Frankly, big data is shaped oddly. Big data includes various bits of information that may or may not be complete, which in turn link to other bits of information in a rather illogical way. After all, it is one of the reasons that NoSQL, a less structured database administration standard, has taken off in the past few years. To continue our analogy of a bank versus a warehouse, pushing big data amounts to stuffing a bunch of balloons in a safety deposit box at a bank versus storing them at a warehouse.

Different Uses

Those different shapes of data are acceptable because big data is used differently, and therefore has to consist of non-traditional shapes. Big data includes as much information as possible, and that's what makes it so important. Manufacturers have different needs from big data than marketers, yet it is the fact that big data allows connections to be seen beyond typical thought processes that makes it so valuable. In short, because so many people need to have access to big data, and for so many different reasons, securing all of it is difficult. Normally, you can secure information in blocks from which each division has access to just what it needs. With big data, that level of security is much more difficult to achieve.

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