Best Practices to Secure Big Data

Big Data | 23-06-2022 | Vanessa Venugopal

best practices to secure big data

Every business requires strong information and big data security. If there’s any lack of data security, it can result in multiple disastrous outcomes. One may end up with financial loss, damaged reputation, or legal consequences.

It is a big challenge for businesses to protect data from unauthorized access and different stages of analysis. A simple data security solution is not enough to protect the big data environment, which can be more difficult for businesses.

However, it is possible to provide the big data system with the protection necessary to prevent data breaches. There are a set of preventive measures that can lower the risk of attacks and help businesses keep their peace of mind.

However, before diving into the best practices, let us define what is big data, to understand its importance and why it requires different ways of protecting them.

What is Big Data?

Big Data means a complex and massive amount of structured and unstructured data sets gathered from various sources. Volume, velocity, and variety are what define big data.

These data collected by companies and organizations are from multiple sources. It can come from as simple as a person’s Google search to activities on an app. These data are stored and analyzed by companies. Some are even sold to other businesses for marketing and other reasons.

The volume and complexity of this data require software and solutions that are capable of managing the load.

So, how can one protect this massive amount of data from possible threats?

Practices to Secure Big Data

Provide Authentication Gateways

Any weak authentication can become the starting point of data breaches. Even vulnerabilities in the user’s authentication function can provide hackers access to the data.

At the design stage, flaws in the user authentication procedure must be avoided. Make that there are no faulty authentication tokens for unauthorized users.

Secure Stored Data and Log Transactions

Securing your stored data is essential in the protection of massive information. You can protect the data at rest by using identifiers on each digital document. The Secure Untrusted Data Repository (SUNDR) will detect if any file modification occurred from a malicious or unauthorized server agent.

Other techniques to protect the stored data are lazy revocation, key rotation, Digital Rights Management (DRM), and broadcast and policy-based encryption schemes. You can also have your cloud storage to secure your data at rest from more existing threats.

Protect Non-Relational Data

Non-relational data like NoSQL are vulnerable to attacks, but there are ways to protect these databases. Using encrypting or hashing passwords, end-to-end encryption, Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), RSA, and Secure Hash Algorithm 2 (SHA-256) are protection layers for data at rest.

There is also the presence of Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) which is a flexible method for authenticating the users and logging each transaction.

The fuzzing method is another way to protect big data. It exposes cross-site scripting and the injection of threats.

Install Endpoint Security System

Because your network's endpoints are continuously under assault, having an endpoint security infrastructure can deal with threats to prevent data breaches.

Unauthorized programs and complex malware are two items to keep in mind while developing an endpoint security plan. The network's endpoints are spreading and becoming increasingly ambiguous as the use of mobile devices grows.

There are automated tools that are essential to fight malware. You can use the following technologies:

Antivirus Software

On all servers and workstations, antivirus software should be installed and updated. Also, with active file monitoring, regular scanning to catch any infections is essential.

Pop-up Blockers

Pop-ups can harm devices and their systems. They are unwanted programs that run behind a system, without users being aware of it. Plus, they are also irritating.


Spyware is a dangerous malicious software that when installed on a device, can gather various information without the knowledge of the user. They can remain on a device for years, collecting data.

Anti-spyware and anti-adware are tools that can detect, block, or remove spyware. They work as an antivirus program. Sometimes they are part of antivirus packages or come as a standalone app.

Use these tools to make sure that your data on your device is not being monitored by someone outside the company.

Configuring Firewalls

The firewall filters out packets to prevent the exposure of data. It ensures that the incoming and outgoing information on the network is constantly monitored. Any suspicious activity that is not defined in the system is immediately contained.

Organizations can configure their firewall to settings that will meet what the business data needs. After which, you can export the settings to the firewall systems.

Activating IDSs

The intrusion Detection System (IDS) monitors the internal system of a computer. It checks the state and content. The IDS use the integrity verification technique to prevent malware from modifying host programs and spreading.

In addition, it will scan the folder or file and detect if there are any changes. However, that’s the only thing it will do. It doesn’t prevent or clean the system.

Insider Threat Protection

Organizations continue to invest a significant amount of effort and money to protect their networks from external attacks; nevertheless, insider threats are increasingly becoming a major source of data exposure. According to numerous surveys, insider attacks account for more than 60% of all attacks.

Insider threats can be accidental or intentional. Accidental can be that the user or employee is not aware of their actions. They connect to the company network that goes against the set defenses. However, some intentionally steal company data.

Therefore, it is crucial to identify activities in your system such as monitoring the user logging in and out of the network or if files are copied or deleted. Don’t also forget to secure remote employees’ access to your company’s data.

Utilize Clustering Systems and Load Balancing

Using a single system to protect your data is good but it is much better to use multiple protection. Clustering is a method that connects different computers and works as a single server. They utilize parallel processing, which makes the performance better. However, it’s costly.

You can improve the availability of these computers by load balancing. It works by splitting the workload across all the computers. The computers are responsible for answering HTTPS requests and they are not all located in a single location. Splitting the location of your computers will help in adding redundancy and prevent downtime.

Back-Up Company Data

To offer redundancy and backups, companies should duplicate critical assets. Fault tolerance for a server is defined as a data backup at its most basic level. Backups are essentially the archiving of data regularly so that it may be recovered in the event of a server failure.

There are different ways to backup your data:

- Full backup: archive all data
- Differential backup: all changes since the last full backup
- Incremental: all changes since the last full or differential backup

You can choose among different ways to backup your data since it depends on what your organization needs. Whichever backup strategy you use, make sure you test it regularly.

Restoring backup data to a test system is the only way to effectively assess your backup plan. One of the best practices is to store backups in many locations to prevent disasters from ruining the business's IT infrastructure.

Backups must be present incrementally over many drives and servers, and at different times. These incremental backups should ideally store a base copy, with each modification reflecting only changes to that base copy or a closely matching earlier version.

Manage Control Access

You should also install suitable data access controls. Access controls should state that users only be granted the privileges that are required to execute their intended role. This ensures that only authorized individuals have access to data.

There are different controls you can manage within your system: Administrative, Physical, and Technical controls.

Administrative control

Administrative access controls are policies and procedures that must be followed by all workers. A security policy can include things like acceptable behaviors, the level of risk the firm is willing to assume, and the consequences of violating it. The policy is usually drafted by a professional who is familiar with the company's goals and current compliance standards.

Technical Controls

For technical controls, no one should copy or store sensitive information on their device. Instead, work on data remotely. You can clean the server of its cache every time a user logs off. In addition, always make it a habit to request login credentials and set a lock whenever the system is used maliciously or questionably.

Physical Controls

Physical security is much as important as securing admin and technical control. Having a weak policy on physical devices can compromise your data and network. You can add locks on your premises, store data in secured areas, and use a BIOS password. The latter prevents intruders from booting into other operating systems through removable media.

In addition, don’t forget to consider securing mobile devices, since they are becoming a common part of the modern workplace.

Manage Logins and Databases

You can keep a record of all logins to your database and activities in the file server for a year. They are used to audit accounts and check which ones have more failed login attempts.

In addition, it helps in identifying any changes in the data and permission. You can use the data to see who is using these accounts and help you identify the source. Furthermore, it can serve as an effective way to evaluate your policies and create better alternatives.

Use RAID Tool

RAID is a tool that protects data from destruction and the system from downtime. It functions by the redundancy of independent disks and allowing servers to have more than one hard drive in case of downtime.

Secure Your Overall Systems

No matter where you store your data, permanent or temporary, you need to secure it. All access to these systems must be protected.

Because a network is only as secure as its weakest link, this would encompass all external systems that could get inside network access via a remote connection with considerable privileges. However, usability must be taken into account, as well as an appropriate balance between usefulness and security.

- Operating system
- Web servers
- Email servers
- FTP servers


Protection of data can differ depending on the amount you have stored. Large data requires critical and high-quality security to keep all the information secure. That means using modern tools, updating software, implementing effective policies, and reviewing all these practices.

Even though data protection is challenging, it can have a massive impact on your business. You can secure your business reputation, avoid unnecessary expenses, and continue your operation. However, remember to never let your guard down, as it is a continuous process.

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Vanessa Venugopal

Vanessa Venugopal is a passionate content writer. With four years of experience, she mastered the art of writing in various styles and topics. She is currently writing for Softvire Australia - the leading software eCommerce company in Australia and Softvire New Zealand.