If you are already dabbling in the possibilities big data offers businesses of all sizes, then now is the time to think about putting scalable processes in place to protect your information and your company as your business – and the rest of the world – rushes in the next big phase in the information age. This is because, with the wealth of information and opportunity of big data comes big risk.
- Don’t Let Your Guard Down One of the best things big data has going for it right now is that it is so new. Conversely, one of the worst things about big data is that it is so new. When a new technology is introduced, it is ripe for hackers and thieves, who take advantage of users’ unfamiliarity with the technology and benefit off this weakness. Big data, by nature, is especially sensitive to criminal activity because it often contains an enormous amount of personal and financial information. By taking this threat seriously – and having stringent security measures in place before you even delve into big data – you can save yourself a lot of time, money and devastation later on.
- Develop a Big Data Security Team When dealing with so much information, especially if it includes information on clients, potential clients, customers and/or employees, you run into not only data breach risks but you risk violating privacy laws or other issues of compliance. For this reason, it is wise to gather professional intelligence from the get-go. External advice – from a lawyer, accountant and/or HR professional, as needed – can be invaluable.Once you understand the requirements around usage and storing of the type of information you are gathering, the next step is to put a comprehensive IT plan in place to protect this data. Even if you have internal technology managers, it is well worth the investment to source an external IT professional who may be able to offer some insight into staying protected in the age of big data.
- Adopt a Secure Storage Solution Because big data, by definition, has the potential to grow to enormity and also because of the extreme sensitivity of the data itself, it is almost impossible to manage big data in any scalable way without a secure storage strategy. Considering the vast amount of data that needs to be stored having it stored where it’s easily accessible, secure, and backed up is essential. It may be a good idea to duplicate your data in a secure off-site storage. Working with a managed service provider is imperative to this process. Big data is too big of an investment – and the risk too great - to trust to local storage.
- Take Extra Steps to Safeguard Sensitive InformationYour trusted legal, financial and HR professionals can help you figure out how to stay compliant when dealing with the sensitive information inherent to big data but it’s safe to say that the more data you deal with, the more you’ll need to make sure you are taking steps to safeguard this information. You’ll be thankful you did when you are able to avoid costly lawsuits and destructive publicity. Talk to your MSP about what security measures are best for protecting sensitive customer or employee-related information. Here are a few things you may want to look into:
- Data encryption of sensitive information.
- Finding the most ultra-secure customer relationship management (CRM) software on the market, as well as the most secure of any other database you plan to use to mine, gather and/or analyze big data.
- Taking local measures to avoid malware, including firewalls and anti-virus protection.
- Finding the safest cloud and off-site storage solutions for your data.
Big data is here to stay and now is the time to get ready for it.