Trends Column / Columns

The Importance of Big Data

Big Data Is…. Big! It also poses big risks and big opportunities.

As you know, there has been a lot written lately about cloud computing, and due to the platform’s design, cloud computing security. Securing the cloud is the work of technical experts at places like Google, Amazon, NSA and the DOD. And that cloud is being secured more each minute through both better procurement policy and technology.


The Cloud is BIG!

The cloud makes both financial and business sense. For example, having one identity management system that provides both physical and logical access privileges reduces risk and improves security. There are inherent risks when multiple systems, people and databases are required for identity system administration. For example, in 2008, an ex-Intel engineer, Biswamohan Pani, stole documents worth $200 million – $400 million from Intel after resigning and accepting a job at competitor AMD. How did he do so?

While the corporate security silo removed his physical access credentials, he was able to trick the logical security system. He used vacation time to push his last day out a month on the company Intranet, thereby extending his logical or network access privileges. Identity on a single cloud-based platform eliminates silos and reduces risk.

Thus, the secure cloud allows us to move physical security applications, including identity, access control and mostly, video to the cloud. It is what I coined, “Security Cloud Computing” to differentiate from the above Cloud Computing Security. Security Cloud Computing enables organizations to consolidate myriad data centers and data bases so that once a record is updated, such as a terminated employee, it is updated everywhere.


Big Clouds = Big Data!!

From IBM: Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals, to name a few.

This is one reason so much data or information is being stored in the virtual cloud. The other is cost, since you only pay for what you use. It’s no surprise when you add a room to the house, you fill it with stuff. The cloud is quickly becoming that infinite attic for everything from an individual’s music to your enterprise’s business information. A core part of that information is identity, surveillance, access control, intrusion and fire related applications. So it is important to not only understand the opportunities and challenges the cloud platform offers, but also to think about all that stuff.

First, you want to be sure your stuff (e.g. surveillance video information) is secure. If someone kept stealing property from your attic, you would either figure out how to lock it or stop putting your stuff there. Second, you want to kill the silos and leverage the platform. Beyond your central station, the cloud (or Internet) enables other stakeholders (marketing, facilities, law enforcement) access to information so you stop, not chase Mr. Pani. Third, as Shawn Clark wrote in our June 2012 issue, big data mining will uncover fraud and save money. Big Data analytics enables organizations to identify losses and eliminate risks.


Big Data = Big Changes

The risk management strategy and toolset is going to change exponentially (and for the better). For example, more than 8,000 restaurant franchises are notified by the franchiser of cash draw anomalies and losses before the franchise identifies the loss. Their algorithms  identify anomalies against all store metrics and issue an alert.

As IBM points out in their definition, Big Data is made up of volume, velocity and variety. The volume of data (video surveillance storage), for example, is massive within your enterprise. Time or the velocity of data analysis is critical to identify risks or events. And there is a wide variety including structured and unstructured data such as text, sensor data, audio, video, click streams, log files and more.

Everything you do is to get the right information to the right person to make the right decision to prevent an event from occurring or to respond to an event that has occurred, thereby stopping a disaster from becoming a catastrophe. Big Data in a secure cloud is a major boost toward that goal. Take the opportunity to educate yourself about projects within your organization and identify how security can partner and leverage this tremendous opportunity.

What other Trendsdoes Publisher Mark McCourt see? Visit

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