Protect Your Customers by Securing Their Big Data

Protect Your Customers by Securing Their Big Data

Remember back in the day, when phones were for talking and computers were for writing term papers?  Not like this is news, but things are a little different now.  

Big Data technology now allows you to use your phone to buy running shoes while waiting in line to board a flight to a hadoop conference which you heard about by getting an alert to your phone and you booked the ticket using your tablet which you ordered (also using your phone) with 1-Click ordering on Amazon that stores your preferred payment method. That’s a lot of personal information moving back and forth for only one person.  According to, in 2012 alone, e-commerce sales topped 289 billion dollars, with more than a third of that being for travel, and 186.2 billion dollars done by retail shopping websites.  In 2010 there were 137 million digital shoppers, and that number is predicted to grow to 175 million in 2016, according to eMarketer.  

That’s a lot of money and information changing hands, money and information that the bad guy would love to get his hands on.  

It’s not as though protecting your stuff from the bad guy is a new concept.  Someone is always trying to take your stuff, so it makes sense to know what is being done to protect our info.  It can be off the shelf or developed in-house, but the security should focus on where the most sensitive and valuable information is kept, as well as how it’s assembled. So whether it’s payment methods, user preferences, or that you prefer St. Louis style BBQ over Kansas City style, here are a few things that the people processing your data should be doing.  

Plan on securing big data before collecting it.  Not that you didn't already know this.  

It’s easy for a new company to forget how to secure the data when they’re still trying to figure out the best way to acquire it.   We’re stating the obvious here, but when a company like Sony is hacked for 47 million users worth of info, it can happen to anyone.  

Engage with privacy advocate groups.  While sometimes they might be a little too zealous with their fear of Big Brother, they offer a different viewpoint that should be valued, not laughed at.

Test the system.  

Hire some hackers.  They'll think of things only hackers could think of.

Use the data collected from the inevitable attacks.  If your company deals with money or sensitive info, chances are someone will try and hack you.  Take the data from the attacks and use it as a reference on how to improve the security.  

Get medieval if you have to.

If you do get hacked, get one of your good guy hackers to hack the attacker.  As Sean Connery said in the Untouchables, "If he pulls a knife, you pull a gun.  If he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.  That’s the Chicago way."  

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