big data securityAs with most questions to do with tech, the answer is much more complicated than the question suggests. As briefly as I can put it, the answer is: potentially, but not necessarily.

By its nature, big data opens companies up to a higher risk. The more data you collect, the more you have to lose, and the more complicated it becomes to manage. But security advancements like blockchain have the potential to curtail many of these woes.

Data Loss: Not Just Hackers

The major issue with data comes hand in hand with its inherent value. The more valuable the data you collect and use, the more costly it is to lose it. This is a pretty simple idea — especially if data becomes an integral part of the services that you offer.

Data loss can hit any business for any number of reasons, and sometimes cyber security isn’t the issue at all. Data loss can occur due to natural disasters that damage data centers, hardware failure due to age, and even during transfers to new servers. It’s important for businesses to develop continuity and recovery plans for data loss, in order to minimize the risk of events that might be out of their control.

But When It Is Hackers …

It can be pretty devastating. The WannaCry attack proved that even large government organizations aren’t immune. Unfortunately, despite the big headline hacks, small businesses are targeted by cyber-attackers much more often. They are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks that lock data down and demand a payment before access can be regained.

For a business getting their feet wet in the collection and application of big data, or for a data-focused startup, this type of attack can be devastating. It’s often cheaper to pay up than try and repair the damage, but that sort of event can still put a company with a lot of potential out of business.

The News Isn’t All Bad

Hackers and security experts have a sort of cyclical relationship. A dance that is constantly evolving as each reacts to new technology to find novel ways of advancing their craft. Implemented in the right way, big data can be used to close a lot more security loopholes than it opens. When you’re looking at ways to protect against cyber crime, more data is good!

For example, large amounts of customer and transaction data can be used to fight fraud. The potential use of data to detect fraud increases even further when companies choose to share information with each other.

As AI technology develops in tandem with big data, our ability to draw conclusions and handle ever larger quantities of information makes it more than worth the risk. As our understanding of how data works grows, so does our ability to secure it.

Decentralization is a major reason that blockchain systems are so effective and secure. Finding ways to decentralize and authenticate data has lead to new security solutions that can protect against malicious attacks as well as solve problems caused by disasters that cripple physical storage.

New technology is always somewhat unpredictable and can be riddled with unforeseen security issues. But big data isn’t new technology anymore. Reliance on data has inherent risk, but development in the data world is moving a mile a minute and things are getting more secure, not less.