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The Dangerous “Three Vs” of Big Data

By | May 9, 2016


Big Data. It sounds intimidating. It certainly sounds important. It even sounds dangerous. It can be all three. While Big Data has revolutionized the entire world of operations and commerce, there are three ‘V’s (notice how much that looks like ‘versus’) of Big Data that make network security more important than even a decade ago. The ‘Three Vs’ are: volume, velocity, and variability, meaning more data to secure, and having to secure it as its velocity accelerates and changes. The three V’s need to be taken seriously as the security issues that they are.

The Volume of Big Data

Think there’s a lot of data now? Wait until year after next, when there will be twice this amount to store and keep secure. Or, wait another five years, when there will be five times this much to contend with.

This is the single factor that most people relate to ‘big data’. It certainly is voluminous, and that poses many challenges when it comes to securing it. After all, it’s much easier to guard a single chicken coup than to try to secure the entire San Diego Zoo. Network security becomes even more complex when the data becomes accessible to users across the enterprise. Bits and pieces of the whole get stored, shared, and used outside the purview of IT and management — meaning that, eventually, nobody is really sure where all the data ends up. The only reliable way to ensure network security where big data is in play is with a good network monitoring solution that can identify anomalies in network traffic and pick up on oddities that indicate theft or intrusion.

The Velocity of Big Data

Big data is not simply marked by its sheer volume, however. Big data is also identified by the rapidity of its growth. Data isn’t just getting bigger, it’s getting bigger really, really quickly. Big data as we know it doubles in volume every two years — meaning that if you are struggling to store and secure a few petabytes today, you’ll be looking at 4.5 times that amount of storage within five years. You’ll also be faced with securing that massive volume of data. Concurrently, the velocity of attacks on that data is increasing. Cyber attack volume and velocity has grown by 1,100 percent since 2009, with no slow down in sight. More than 120,000 attacks are levied against businesses like yours every day. Network security has to be increased commensurately.

The Variety of Big Data

As the number of IoT devices nears 6 billion, the variety of data streaming in comes in different formats. The variety of attacks to be levied against the data, devices, users, and networks is growing, too.

This is perhaps the least understood quality of big data. Big data is tremendously varied. Part of the reason for this is the Internet of Things; data is streaming in from innumerous sources at any given time. Big data comes from social networks, mobile devices and apps, user profiles, text documents, image and video files, machines and sensors, and a plethora of software systems and applications.

Similarly, the variety of attacks has grown considerably. While the DDoS and data breach have been mainstays in the world of network security, those seem trivial next to the new waves of malware, ransomware, phishing scams, social engineering attacks, and other high-level attacks that are becoming more frequent and sophisticated by the day. Unless your network security solutions can detect and manage this type of variety in attacks, it’s only a matter of time until you are hit with (at least) one of these threats.

See how today’s top notch network security solutions can protect your business in the age of big data by scheduling a demo now.