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August 25, 2014

Big Data Does Not Always Mean Big Security Issues

A few days ago I discussed how while Hadoop may be a funny sounding word for a tech product, there is nothing funny about how the Apache Software Foundation open source framework for processing and storing massive amounts of data can/should be secured. In short, as the title above says, if you are one of the many organizations evaluating or has already moved to a Hadoop environment what you need to know is big does not have to mean bad when it comes to security.

Hadoop has quickly emerged in the last few years as a preferred means for not just making big data manageable in terms of its movement and storage, but also manageable as an invaluable means for using all of that big data for creating, visualizing and analyzing trends. In common industry parlance this is known as “actionable business intelligence.”

As noted in the previous posting which mentioned how open source solutions are sweeping through almost every aspect of ICT, while most of these initiatives have been extraordinary as vehicles for innovation, and for that matter industry sector disruption, the power and wisdom of the open source initiative communities over the years has not necessarily looked at these initiatives with security in mind as a design criteria.

The good news of IT departments is that security is now a prime design and deployment consideration. In fact, as the headlines highlight every single day, the timing for this focus is important. It is important not just for those choosing to implement such solutions, but for the creation or re-establishment of trust online in general. It is always difficult to predict a “tipping point.” This is especially true when you are an industry combatant and in the proverbial “eye of the hurricane.” There is a tendency for one not to have a full view of what is going on when things in immediate proximity seem calm but reality is the impact of the winds, rain and tidal surges are creating havoc.

I raise this as context for the challenges of securing Hadoop.  The reasons are that all indications are that adoption of big data solutions are accelerating.  Hence, so is the expansion of the vectors of vulnerability that accompany the need to “break down data silos” inside of enterprises that facilitate big data creation and utility.

Concerns over the expansion of possibilities for mission critical data to be compromised as your organization moves to big data, particularly Hadoop-centered environments are reasons to ask questions and get answers, but should not be reasons to fear or forestall plans to move ahead. 

For this reason, I wanted to remind readers to register for the webinar, webinar, Securing Hadoop: What Are Your Options?, Wed., Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. EDT.  It is your opportunity to hear what best practices are for securing Hadoop environments and hear case studies of what leading Hadoop customers are already doing. It is also an opportunity to have internationally recognized subject matter experts, Sudeep Venkatesh, VP Solutions Architecture, Voltage Security (News - Alert) Inc., and Vinod Nair, Senior Manager, Partner Product Management, Hortonworks, answer your questions.

IT departments today must wear several hats, and are not just accountable but responsible for a host of business support capabilities. Right at the top of the list are improving the customer experience to create differentiated value and securing mission critical data wherever it may be or may be moved to in the course of interactions. Interestingly, with big data playing such a central role in making organizations of all shapes and sizes more responsive to customer needs and market realities, the two are very closely related. 

Getting better information and insights your organization requires from all of its stakeholders to drive its business/achieve its mission is a huge task by itself.  It can be extremely disruptive for reasons relating to such non-technical issues as corporate culture.  However, on the technical side, such a transformation does not need to be about compromising security because of the exponential increase in data inputs and data that needs to be safely moved and manipulated.  Big data does not have to mean big security headaches even if your choice of framework is Hadoop, and the webinar is a great opportunity to become educated as to why. 




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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