Nerissa Martin's blog

Sep 2011

Big Data Pokes at the Cloud’s Insecurities

Posted by Nerissa Martin

It’s no secret that while our devices may be shrinking, the amount of information we put on them is growing exponentially. In a study published in June 2011, IDC predicted that by the end of this year, the amount of information created and replicated will surpass 1.8 zettabytes, or 1.8 trillion gigabytes (this amount of data would fit onto about 28,125,000,000 iPods, each with 64 gigabytes of storage), and will grow by a factor of 9 in five years.

What is becoming more apparent is that big data is turning into big money, for enterprises and small businesses alike. So how can channel partners and cloud services providers (CSPs) help customers to manage navigate this trend?

With the development of big data trends and forecasts, a number of companies and groups have been formed to help manage, analyze and leverage it. According to an article by Stefan Groschupf, mining big data for business intelligence has led to the development of innovations like FlightCaster, a company that is able to predict flight delays by factoring in real-time conditions and using historical information on domestic flights.

In addition, many experts believe analyzing large datasets can be the precursor to more practical and cost-effective ways of doing business. A report by the McKinsey Global Institute, for example, estimates that retail firms that ‘maximize their use of big data’ could ‘increase operating margins by more than 60 percent…’.

The report mentions how Wal-Mart used electronic data to give suppliers a view of demand in its stores. With the collection of even more information on each store and buying habits of customers, retail chains like Wal-Mart can use the information they gather to tailor their business to the customer and improve operations.

And in a recent blog post on how companies are making money from the growth of data, Loraine Lawson noted that large tech security companies are crediting big data in part for boosting their company’s revenues.

Perspectives for Channel Partners

Executive Vice President at Asigra, Eran Farajun, says that cloud service providers are partly responsible for the explosion of data. With cloud computing and cloud services becoming more popular, the general public and small businesses are creating more and more data online, thanks to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others, being solely based online requires all the information created on those sites to be stored online.

So while data is being made, monitored and mined, who’s worrying about what happens if and when that information is lost?

Although most small businesses might not be thinking about big data problems now, Asigra’s Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, Ashar Baig says that in five to 10 years, big data is going to be a problem. In addition, having more, highly valuable information increases the vulnerability of what happens when that data is destroyed in an accident, irrecoverable or hacked. In this sense, being able to protect, backup and recover information becomes akin to insuring your house and car.

The debate over whether or not the public cloud is the answer to big data storage problems continues to unfold. For end-users, security in the cloud is already a touchy subject, much less backup and recovery. But with big data issues coming to the forefront,security becomes even more divisive.

Standardizing encryption in the cloud backup and recovery field is a start to ensuring the cloud can meet the demand that huge datasets will put on cloud storage providers, as more and more businesses rely on the cloud to store big data.

Considering the issues outlined above, cloud storage providers need to ensure their data encryption standards are consistent with industry leaders, such as the National Institute of Science and Technology in the United States, to be prepared for the oncoming challenge of big data.

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