Big Data Cybersecurity: Why It Matters and How It Helps

Organizations today face an uphill battle against cybercrime. Attacks are rising in frequency and sophistication each year, with hackers increasingly targeting vulnerabilities in cloud systems and home networks.

As such, executives across the board are abandoning outdated and ineffective cybersecurity policies and embracing new tactics. According to PwC, 96% of executives are shifting their cybersecurity strategy due to COVID-19.

This new era of cybersecurity is all about speed and efficiency. In fact, survival depends heavily on real-time threat detection and remediation. Companies can no longer wait several weeks or months to discover vulnerabilities and intruders.

As a result, there is an urgent demand for big data cybersecurity. Companies need to use advanced analytics to discover trends and keep pace with cybercriminals.

With all this in mind, let’s take a closer look at big data and the critical role it’s playing in cybersecurity. 

A key signifying big data cybersecurity

The Rise of Cybersecurity Automation and Big Data 

Until recently, cybersecurity was mostly a manual process. Companies hired cybersecurity specialists, and those individuals were responsible for protecting sensitive systems and databases to keep data secure. 

To be sure, this strategy worked in the early days of computing. But over the last two decades, there’s been an explosion in connectivity and data consumption. The threat surface has expanded significantly as a consequence. And, with each new connected system and device that comes online, it continues to grow by the day. 

Unfortunately, companies are having a hard time keeping up. 

First and foremost, there is a growing cybersecurity skills gap. In a recent study, 70% of cybersecurity professionals said their organization is struggling to cope with the cybersecurity skills shortage.

What’s more, even the most equipped IT security departments have cybersecurity problems. There are simply too many alerts to manage — and far too much data to comb through on a daily basis — for humans to stay on top of everything. 

And the problem is getting worse.

Seeking a better way forward, cybersecurity is becoming increasingly automated and data-driven. This is where big data comes into play. 

Recent advancements in big data collection and management make it possible to analyze large volumes of security and event information. In turn, security teams are having a much easier time staying on top of emerging threats and preventing malicious activity from impacting operations. 

A comprehensive big data cybersecurity strategy pulls data from all areas of the enterprise, from end users to automated back-end processes. Big data cybersecurity can apply to both real-time data and historical data, delivering stronger results over time.

How Can Big Data Improve Cybersecurity? 

Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons why companies are embracing big data cybersecurity and using it to secure their networks.

1. Real-Time Threat Detection 

Big data enables companies to detect threats as they occur, giving them deep visibility into end-user habits and workflows.

For example, organizations now face a constant barrage of malware and ransomware, with the vast majority of attacks directed at email systems. Companies can fight back by collecting, filtering, and analyzing malware. They can then use that information to stop harmful messages before they reach end users.

What’s more, a company may collect usage analytics from end users to detect security anomalies like a suspicious login. Companies can even go a step further and collect employee keystroke data to sense whether someone else is using an authorized account.

In the coming years, real-time threat detection will become even more powerful. And companies will continue to enhance big data cybersecurity with artificial intelligence and machine learning tools. 

2. Rapid Threat Elimination

Up until this point, companies typically took a reactive stance to cybersecurity events. For example, a company might detect a data breach months or even years after it took place — long after an intruder was able to break in and pilfer information or compromise the network. 

Big data cybersecurity tools make it possible to respond in real time and near-real time, preventing attacks as they occur. 

On one hand, a company may detect a fraudulent login attempt from a machine and lock an account to prevent potential unauthorized access. On the other hand, the organization may discover a suspicious IP address accessing a cloud database from a region with no known end users. With that information, they can then shut down access as a precautionary measure. 

"Big data cybersecurity tools make it possible to respond in real time and near-real time."

3. Advanced Threat Prevention

Companies need to stay several steps ahead of cybercriminals. This is especially important as cybercriminals gain access to intelligent tools that can launch advanced and highly targeted campaigns. 

By using big data, companies can continuously ingest information and process it to detect malicious activity across all end users and machines. Big data can help organizations uncover patterns as they emerge, enabling them to watch campaigns unfold instead of getting blindsided by them and not figuring it out for weeks, months, or even longer.

Enabling Big Data Cybersecurity 

Big data cybersecurity isn’t something that you can easily integrate into an enterprise overnight. It can be a complex migration, as well as a massive change for an organization.

As such, it’s important to round up all key stakeholders and implement a framework for big data cybersecurity management. This way, you can obtain buy-in and cover all your bases, thereby increasing your chances of success.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to enable a strong big data cybersecurity framework.

What Is Data Privacy?

Caution is key when working with extremely large data sets, especially when they contain sensitive security information. This is where data privacy can be particularly helpful.

At a very basic level, data privacy is a philosophy that governs how a company collects, shares, and uses personal data. For example, a company might enact strict access controls that ensure only the CFO and their team could look at sensitive financial information.

Before implementing a big data cybersecurity strategy, it’s necessary to set clear policies around data privacy, information access, and data governance. 

To start, set up security guardrails controlling the human and non-human users and groups who can access the data that you’re collecting. This enables you to prevent unauthorized access.

"It's necessary to set clear policies around data privacy, information access, and data governance."

Robust Data Pipeline 

Further, you need an end-to-end data pipeline that ensures data can flow from endpoints to storage locations.

Map your data pipeline so that your team can control how data moves across the company. A data pipeline should establish how data is collected, transmitted, stored, and refined to help adhere to your data privacy policies. 

Log Management

For real-time visibility, security specialists need to be able to instantly access security data. They simply don’t have time to dig through back-end databases and manually compile reports. 

Enter Scalyr, offering lightning-fast log management for operation and engineering teams. Scalyr gives security teams instant access to data for real-time visibility and alerts. Plus, the platform makes it easy to search and filter data, as well as allowing you to visualize that data on your screen of choice — making it an ideal tool for big data cybersecurity.

Scalyr accomplishes this using a cutting-edge NoSQL columnar database and a parallel cloud compute infrastructure offering unparalleled speed, accuracy, and ease of use. 

One of Scalyr’s most exciting features is PowerQueries, which lets users transform and combine data for custom reporting and analysis. 

Scalyr also comes with Kubernetes monitoring and troubleshooting, real-time alerts, and a Live Tail feature that lets users zero in on continuous logs as they stream into the platform.

Get Started With Scalyr Today

The ground is shifting in cybersecurity. 

Simply put, organizations that cling to old and outdated strategies won’t be able to keep up with evolving threats. Now is the time to implement a modern, data-driven cybersecurity strategy. To do that, you need to invest in the right tools.

For more information on why organizations are increasingly using Scalyr to fortify their big data cybersecurity policies, request a demo today.

This post was written by Justin Reynolds. Justin is a freelance writer who enjoys telling stories about how technology, science, and creativity can help workers be more productive. In his spare time, he likes seeing or playing live music, hiking, and traveling.