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Data generation is increasing, so too should data storage...

Written by Robert Fitzsimons on Monday, 29 July 2019. Posted in Cyber

Big data security threats are nothing new. We continue to see conversations and articles surrounding IoT, Edge computing and 5G on a daily basis and current trends suggest these concepts will only become more integrated in our daily lives. This will inevitably create more data, requiring larger areas to store the amassed data.

Every device connecting to the internet can be considered an endpoint device and each device which has an associated IP address will inevitably create some form of data. The data being created on a daily basis is enormous with predictions that by 2020 there will be 40x more bytes of data than there are stars in the observable universe and therefore increases the amount of data security threats.

Domo have broken down the amount of generated data in to a slightly more palatable format. For example, so far in 2019 every minute of the day Youtube users watch 4,500,000 videos. In the same time frame 188,000,000 emails are being sent! You’re right, this is still hard to comprehend!

But the fact remains; vast amounts of data is being generated, it needs to be accessible and it needs to be stored. Two main solutions currently exist for storing big data; on premises data lakes or cloud-based solutions.

On Premises

Data lakes are repositories that hold vast amounts of raw data in its native format until it is needed, assigning specific information to each new piece of data for easy retrieval at a later date. An on premise data lake is exactly as it sounds, a large database which is located on the organisations’ premises.

Whilst access and physical security to on premises data lakes are easy enough to maintain, the key issues it faces are maintenance costs, which inevitably increase as your gain more data and scalability. What happens when you have more data than your data lake can contain? There will always be a limit to on premises space and it is not always possible to expand in accordance with the growth of the technological market.

Cloud-based solutions attempt to mitigate this.

Cloud-based data storage clearly addresses the above issues; if you need more storage then you can pay more to have your storage limits raised, with this scalability being organised and maintained by another organisation. Additionally, not needing the space or maintenance for on-premises storage means that the space can be reallocated to focus on business value, such as a new team.

Cloud-based data storage solutions are also built with availability and reliability in mind, intending to prevent service interruptions and allowing for redundancy should a server be taken offline. This can provide great opportunities for organisations at all levels to secure their data in a convenient and managed storage solution, reducing some of the burden from themselves

Big data – big target

Whilst cloud-based data storage solutions are becoming more and more popular due to the ever growing requirement, a vast and consolidated pool of data is an inviting opportunity for cyber criminals.

Big data within data lakes or large cloud based data solutions could include practically any piece of data you could think of, including personally identifiable information such as name, email address and driving licence details which can be rolled up in to one neat little bundle. Bundles of this information, known as ‘Fullz’, can be sold on the dark web for in excess of £25, depending on the current market trend, the amount of data included and the person the data belongs to.

This can lead to huge amounts of potential revenue for a cyber-criminal. Consider in March 2019 the cyber security firm Upguard identified two Facebook databases which had been uploaded to Amazons’ cloud system by third party developers, one of which exposed 146 GB of data, including 540 million different records. Even at £1 per record, the incentive for criminals to target databases is very apparent.

Importance of Securing Big Data

Clearly, big data is of high importance these days and will only become more important. The IoT continues to grow and so too does the data being generated every second of the day.

As we become more integrated in our daily lives and activates, the information being generated and collected becomes more expensive and more appealing to both private and public sectors alike, as well as cyber-criminals.

It is almost certain that big data security threats will continue to increase in a bid to exploit this ever growing opportunity. Data needs to be secured by whichever means possible to ensure the integrity, authenticity and confidentiality is maintained at all levels, keeping the data protected, whilst protecting companies from the possibility of failing to comply with GDPR

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About the Author

Robert Fitzsimons

Robert Fitzsimons

Rob is a Field Applications Engineer with a background in Military Intelligence who recently completed his BSc (Hons) Intelligence and Cyber Security degree.

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