CSA unveils big data security best practice guidelines

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) has unveiled 100 best practices for cloud users to take note of when gathering and handling big data in a bid to improve cyber security on a global scale.

It has split its recommendations into ten categories, with ten key points to follow in each one. The first of these centres around the importance of securing computation in distributed programming frameworks to prevent information leaks and to improve compliance, while the second focuses on improving the general security of non-relational data stores.

Thirdly, the CSA wants to see organisations improving the way that they store and log big data, as without adequate encryption methods, data is placed at significant risk of a breach.

Improving endpoint validation and monitoring security and compliance in real time are two more areas that the alliance has provided ten recommendations apiece for, as are ensuring user privacy and big data cryptography. In terms of the latter, the report discusses how advances in this area will benefit businesses in the future, suggesting that they begin following cryptography best practices now wherever possible to ensure they are prepared and one step ahead of their competitors when the time comes.

The eighth and ninth categories on the CSA's list concern granular access, which is the process of providing data access to users in the most minute way possible, as well as granular audits. 

Lastly, data provenance has been named as a key area of focus by the CSA, but is something that can only be achieved by tightening operations in each of the nine aforementioned categories. When discussing big data, provenance refers to having a thorough record of all of the people who have access to manage an organisation's big data to allow the security of the information to be monitored accordingly.

Commenting on the report, J R Santos, executive vice-president of research at the CSA, stated: "This is an important initiative for the cloud community, as new security challenges have arisen from the coupling of big data with public cloud environments. 

"As big data expands through streaming cloud technology, traditional security mechanisms tailored to secure small-scale static data on firewalled and semi-isolated networks are inadequate."

The CSA wants all businesses to be adopting the same practices when it comes to protecting big data in order to make them less vulnerable to attacks and to ensure a strong level of security across the board. With big data continuing to increase in importance and more and more firms beginning to harness the insights it can deliver, it is vital that companies start implementing best practice protection measures sooner rather than later.

Mr Santos concluded: "Security and privacy issues are magnified by this volume, variety and velocity of big data. This handbook serves as a comprehensive list of best practices for companies to use when securing big data."

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