Thales Blog

With Market For Big Data Forecast To Grow Exponentially, Is Big Data Security Being Taken Seriously Enough?

January 26, 2013

Recently, IDC announced its market forecast for the growth of the Big Data technology and services market for 2012–2016.

A key finding of the report forecasts that the Big Data market will grow at a 31.7 per cent compound annual growth rate; comparable in scale to about seven times the growth rate of the entire information and communication technology (ICT) market worldwide, and is expected to attain revenues of $23.8 Billion in 2016

Businesses are embracing the opportunity to leverage Big Data platforms in earnest, but, as pointed out in the recent Open Data Centre Alliance (ODCA) Big Data guide, the issue of security compatibility is absolutely critical to the success of Big Data innovations.

“Closely related to multi-tenancy and data governance, security is a critical aspect of a successful Big Data platform. Specifically, applications and tools need pluggable authentication and authorization, such as the LDAP. Customer data privacy and the confidentiality of an enterprise’s commercial data becomes a real challenge with the growth of Big Data and new capabilities.”

Of course, there are security concerns around any environment that gathers or processes data, but with little or no native security controls built into the most well known Big Data NoSQL platforms – Hadoop, MongoDB, Cassandra and CouchDB – maintaining the confidentiality of an enterprise’s commercial or customer data becomes a significant challenge.

Storing large volumes of intellectual property in a centralised NoSQL repository can potentially risk aggravating a raft of compliance mandates in the event of it being inadequately protected or, worst case scenario, damage a business if publically disclosed by inadvertent or malicious means. In a classic case of mismatch between design and practice, traditional ‘bolt-on’ security measures are not able to properly protect these architecturally different deployment models.

Any organisation touching sensitive data and looking to extract the true value of Big Data needs to look to granular encryption that can adequately underpin and scale in line with multiplying volumes of data. By placing controls right down at file level, organisations can protect data regardless of where it resides.

By failing to take on security concerns around Big Data now, enterprises will risk jeopardising their endeavours with the possibility of a data breach. It really is crunch time for Big Data security.