Security, privacy concerns intensify in big data

Advanced analytics technology remains one of the hottest segments of the IT sector today, and this is expected to be the case for years to come thanks to several trends that make these solutions more desirable among the world’s private and public industries. However, this has not come without its concerns, as many analysts and, more notably, consumer advocates have remained fearful about the security side of big data, especially given the rapid increases in breach frequency and resulting damages.

Backend information governance, as well as data preparation and other analytics-focused responsibilities, are still somewhat new in the context of modern business intelligence solutions, and firms have already struggled to strike the right chord with respect to protection, privacy and transparency thus far. More work will need to be done to ensure that the deployment of wide-reaching big data programs is both profitable and positive, rather than representative of much greater risks to information integrity and security.

A look ahead
The Next Web recently published a blog post from Northeastern University computer science professor David Choffnes regarding his take on the transparency aspect of modern big data initiatives. According to the author, there is plenty of responsibility that needs to be taken seriously among consumers, who have thus far proven their willingness to share information about their lives in an almost flippant fashion, putting themselves at risk even before a company begins to use the data for analytics purposes.

However, should business leaders begin to believe that they are completely free from liability, they should think again, as corporate ethics and security tasks are just as important today as they have always been. Choffnes argued that user experiences need to be a high priority to actually derive value from analytics programs, which means that security needs to be handled optimally to maintain data protection while not hindering the interactions between businesses and customers.

Security needs to be a core focus for big data initiatives. Security needs to be a core focus for big data initiatives.

He added that companies need to remember that this is still all very new, and that being careful with transparency, privacy and monetization policies and objectives is key to getting the strategies up to snuff over time.

Remain vigilant
Gartner reported in October that roughly 50 percent of all corporate ethics violations will be in some way related to the use of big data by 2018.

“Although big data and advanced analytics projects risk many of the same pitfalls as traditional projects, in most cases, these risks are accentuated due to the volume and variety of data, or the sophistication of advanced analytics capabilities,” said Alexander Linden, research director at Gartner. “Most pitfalls will not result in an obvious technical or analytic failure. Rather they will result in a failure to deliver business value.”

For these reasons and many more, companies need to take a more progressive and intelligent approach to big data investments. Instead of trying to go it alone, the use of a managed solutions provider that can assist with data prep and other core needs will likely be a safer path forward.