Big Data Workloads Require a New Security Plan: 10 Best Practices

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2013-03-20
 
 
 

Find and Secure All Your Data Assets

In order to effectively fortify important data assets, you need to know where they are. If a breach occurs in the cloud, it is important to understand whether these assets have been compromised. If they have, know who should be held accountable. Carefully reviewing a service level agreement (SLA) before you sign is critical in order to know where your enterprise stands should a data loss incident occur. Knowing who has access to the source code for your database or application is equally as important.

Find and Secure All Your Data Assets

Have an Enterprise Incident Response Plan

Even if an SLA takes the onus off your shoulders for being responsible for your critical data, you must have an incident response plan and a data reclamation strategy in place if an incident happens despite all your precautions. The cloud makes it unclear where the demarcation is between the public and private network and where responsibility lies.

Have an Enterprise Incident Response Plan

Set Up Data Loss Prevention as Soon as Possible

DLP is a solution to several potential issues. For starters, it protects your brand and reputation by not allowing insider corporate information to leak into the general public. It further protects sensitive and critical information from being erroneously or even purposely sent by users within your enterprise, which can aid in protecting brand, reputation and IP loss. Finally, it can assist with regulatory compliance dictated by the government or within your industry to help meet required standards.

Set Up Data Loss Prevention as Soon as Possible

Encrypt All Important Data Assets

You are likely already aware of the importance of encryption for protecting data, and you are also aware of encryption's potential impact on performance. Although encryption of large data sets can be challenging and impact speed or other performance factors, the risk is not worth avoiding the performance hit. This is an enterprise governance and risk management exercise. It is important to never compromise information security for performance. Encryption of your critical assets ensures that if the data does leak, it will have no value to recipients. Likewise, secure coding needs to include components that are used by your development team to further fortify assets and information.

Encrypt All Important Data Assets

Control and Protect Remote Access

The foundation of a remote access security strategy is mature and reliable authentication, authorization and accounting (AAA), along with virtual private networks. A key feature that makes an SSL (secure socket layer) VPN mature and reliable is a central management capacity that allows administrators to give secure remote access to data and applications in the cloud. Remote access issues also include how mobile device security is addressed, which should be done with equal attention and protection as a strategic enterprise security decision.

Control and Protect Remote Access

Practice Consistent Policy Management

Policy management adds another layer of information security, especially for securing remote access. Effective policy management allows administrators to separate duties based on job role and responsibility within the enterprise in order to prevent any single person or group from having the keys to the kingdom. Regular audits of access controls within the enterprise are essential to ensuring policy management remains valid and consistent. This also includes reviewing the concept of least privilege to decide if it applies in your enterprise and, if so, to whom.

Practice Consistent Policy Management

Use AAA for Secure and Effective Remote Access

A trio of vital components can ensure secure remote access that is easy to deploy, highly scalable and centrally managed securely. That trio consists of authentication, authorization and accounting. Authentication and authorization verify the users’ identity and permissions; accounting allows the enterprise to summarize, analyze and report the users' actions. This solution needs to be integrated well with an SSL VPN and needs to be able to employ flexible authentication schema.

Use AAA for Secure and Effective Remote Access

Ensure a Secure Application

Since big data can reside as components in a data warehouse that double as front-ended applications, those applications must include information security as a building block and not "bolted on" as an afterthought. Such controls include secure development practices and a robust enterprise governance strategy from policy to risk-management practices.

Ensure a Secure Application

Pay Attention to Users Outside the Enterprise

Security controls can require even more diligence when they apply to users outside the enterprise. Extranet users may include vendors, consultants or contractors inside the value chain who require specific levels of accessibility and availability from a security perspective. A CRM solution falls into this category as one of the most important areas where appropriate security controls and enhanced visibility are a must. The most effective solutions will also have the ability to build reconnaissance or profiles based on user's behavior from within or outside the enterprise.

Pay Attention to Users Outside the Enterprise

Keep Up With the News

Be sure to follow the latest news on security technology, security breaches, big data analytics and on enterprise IT advances in general. That includes reading publications such as eWEEK to make sure you remain on top of the trends that are important to your enterprise. Follow us at @eweeknews on Twitter and participate in our eWEEKchats when you can.

Keep Up With the News

Rocket Fuel