May 19, 2020

Concerned About Big Data Breaches? Technology Can Help

Business
Technology
Big Data
Big data analytics
John McMalcolm
3 min
Concerned About Big Data Breaches? Technology Can Help

Businesses around the world are adopting big data technology at a frenzied pace.

Big data analytics enables them to obtain previously unattainable insights from their data, which can help them make better-informed decisions.

While this technology promises great rewards, it may expose businesses to certain security risks. However, new technologies are constantly being developed to prevent big data breaches.

Here is a look at some of these technologies:

Understanding Big Data Security Concerns

The big data repository of a company contains massive amounts of data, which may include important data such as customer data and trade secrets.

It is a very tempting target for hackers, because it enables them to get a big payoff from just one attack.

Additionally, a big data repository usually includes data that comes from a variety of sources, and each data source may have its own security policies.

As such, it can be difficult for a company to apply the appropriate levels of protection for all its data sources without overly restricting data accessibility.

A big data system is more vulnerable to hack attacks than a single database server because of its distributed nature. Since it uses multiple servers, the configuration of servers is more likely to be inconsistent, making it easier to breach.

Another reason why big data may be a risky solution for businesses is because big data programming tools, such as NoSQL and Hadoop, were not developed with security in mind.

According to an article posted on bigstep.com entitled "Don't Let Security Concerns Impact Use of Big Data," data security options were limited when Hadoop and its partner organizations began establishing a foothold in the market, and most security products were not updated to be used in a Hadoop environment until recently.

Application Software Security

The risk of big data breaches can be significantly reduced if you use versions of open-source software that are more secure, such as Apache Accumulo, Hadoop .20.20x or higher, and Cloudera Sentry.

Accumulo and Sentry can facilitate role-based access control to provide greater protection for NoSQL databases.

Monitoring of Audit Logs

An audit logging tool can help you monitor and analyze big data clusters more effectively, and you can implement this tool by using a technology such as Apache Oozie.

In order to ensure optimal security, you have to make sure that the files are monitored and examined by your security engineers, and the tasks of auditing, analyzing and maintaining logs are performed consistently throughout your company.

Hardware and Software Configuration Security

It is important that you create secure servers for every system in your company's big data architecture.

Make sure that patches are constantly updated and only a small number of users can access administrative privileges. An automation framework, such as Puppet, can be used to automate system configuration and keep all the big data servers in your company uniform and secure.

Overcoming big data challenges is not an easy task, but it is definitely a worthwhile endeavor.

The sooner you are able to implement big data competently, the greater advantage you'll have over your competitors.

 

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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