Although IT pros feel that harnessing big data should be a priority for businesses, defining the term can be difficult and there is a lack of knowledge concerning big data products, according to a survey by data governance software provider Varonis.
The survey suggested IT knows what they want to do with the information-find at-risk sensitive data, identify possible malicious activity and find users with excessive access rights. However, a greater understanding of what big data is and what products are available remains elusive.
The survey of 180 attendees of April's Infosecurity Europe 2012 conference, of which 38 percent were from small businesses (less than 500 employees), found one-third of overall respondents said big data is already a strategic initiative in their organization, and most say that it will be a strategic initiative within the next five years. However, 59 percent of participants said they felt there was no clear definition of big data and its uses for IT.
Although 69 percent of respondents, who work mainly in IT security, said big data should be a key priority for IT, awareness of products and services in the market remains a major hurdle. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest awareness and one being the lowest awareness, 73 percent of those polled rated themselves a 5 or lower when asked about their awareness of and the visibility they have on big data products currently on the market; 22 percent rated themselves a 1.
"IT personnel that want to stay current should become familiar with big data analytics platforms, use cases and how big data techniques can help their organizations. From an IT security perspective, organizations may want to start by exploring concrete use cases: how big data analytics solutions can help identify at-risk sensitive data, malicious activity and excessive access rights," the report concluded. As they report that already a third of their organizations are implementing big data solutions, it's clear that big data is more than marketing hype."
Big data has already taken hold in more than a third of organizations, the survey indicated, with 36 percent reporting their organization is currently implementing big data projects. In addition, 32 percent reported that it is currently a strategic initiative, and 57 percent reported that it would be in five years. Larger organizations seem to be more likely to be implementing big data solutions today, the survey indicated.
"This survey validates what Varonis experiences with the organizations we engage with daily; IT is looking for practical big data solutions for data management and protection. With the explosion of data and the demand for rapid, ubiquitous digital collaboration, IT knows traditional data management methods can no longer keep pace, so they are looking for advanced solutions to protect their data," David Gibson, vice president of strategy at Varonis, said in a prepared statement. "The key for IT with big data is to get past all the hype and to learn more about the practical benefits, like finding exposed sensitive data, flagging malicious activity and identifying excessive access."