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Mitigating the Security Risks of Big Data

While the use of big data and analytics can provide corporate decision makers with rich insights into business, customer, and operational trends, companies also need to assess the risks associated with using big data.

risk 150x150 Mitigating the Security Risks of Big DataThese include the risks that come with inadvertently exposing personally-identifiable information about customers or transferring data outside of a required geographic area.

In today’s business environment, practitioners are becoming increasingly concerned about the security risks posed by the use of big data. In fact, 76% of senior-level IT and security professionals say the inability to secure data through big data efforts is worrisome, according to a survey by Voltage Security.

Moreover, more than half (56%) of the survey respondents say that such security concerns have prevented them from starting or completing big data projects.

Even when the companies using big data and big data analytics have the best intentions for protecting the privacy and interests of their customers, sometimes the information can fall into the wrong hands and be abused.

User data that’s collected by large companies is constantly accessed by internal analysts and external contractors, according to an article in Data Informed. “A malicious insider or an untrusted partner can abuse these data sets and extract private information from customers,” the article notes.

To better protect customer information and ensure that big data is used safely, there are a number of steps that companies can and should take to minimize the risks.

Cybercriminals “are better organized, more professional and have access to powerful tools and capabilities,” notes Steve Durbin, vice president of the Information Security Forum. Because of the financial and reputational damage that cyberthieves can cause, it’s crucial for companies to implement solid cyber-resilience and preparedness strategies.

This includes ensuring that employees follow their organizations’ data usage policies, particularly when so many organizations are using bring-your-own-device programs and the sensitive corporate data on every employee’s smartphone or other mobile device is vulnerable to intrusion.

Creating restrictions as to who can access certain data to perform their jobs is a step in the right direction. Also, because databases typically have some built-in security features, companies can benefit from adding security products that can address some of the gaps.

Because larger enterprises often rely on extensive supply chains, it’s also critical for corporate information security teams to ensure that outsourcers and other business partners are adhering to sound information security practices to protect intellectual property.

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