12 big data and security trends to watch in 2017

Published
  • February 13 2017, 10:26pm EST

Top big data and security trends for 2017

From artificial intelligence, to predictive analytics, to ransomware security, to the changing role of the chief data officer, tech leaders foresee a variety of technology trends that will make an impact on organizations in 2017.

Predictive analytics and the power of the data scientist

“The power of data is now a given among industries of all types, and it will be a necessary tool in 2017,” says Christian Gonzalez, CEO and co-founder of Wovenware. “From biopharma and med device manufacturing, to retail and marketing, companies realize that data analytics is a key component of achieving business advantage. Advanced predictive analytics tools are enabling companies to not only measure the past but effectively create a roadmap for future choices by learning from previous situations. The role of the data analysts and data scientists designing the algorithms and mining the data will grow in importance.”

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Business users will drive more decisions on data management

“There is a stock of cleansing rules, integration processes and so on that business users employ to get data into the shape they want,” explains Jake Freivald, vice president of marketing at Information Builders. “These rules are frequently used once, or used only by a specific person, and then thrown away. Those are intellectual resources that shouldn't be wasted. Think of a data scientist creating data cleansing rules for an analytical process that leverages a data lake—the knowledge that goes into her processes can be captured, stored and applied to downstream feeds, data governance processes that correct source systems, and integrated views of the data for others.”

Digital transformation means putting customer first

“Today, there’s no such thing as a digital strategy—just strategy in a digital world. And while the digital age is creating a degree of uncertainty for some organizations, it’s also opening the doors to exciting possibilities and ushering in an era of infinite potential,” explains Ettienne Reinecke, chief technology officer at Dimension Data. “In the year ahead, control and ownership of data and metadata will emerge as a point of discussion—and contention. Organizations don’t just want ownership and control of their data for compliance reasons; they want it to perform analytics. We expect that this will trigger some interesting discussions between organizations and their cloud providers, for example, where are the boundaries with respect to ownership, especially around metadata.”

Security, easy access drives adoption of hosted desktops apps

“Although full adoption of hosted desktop applications is still two to three years away, we will see a spike in adoption rates in 2017,” predicts Chanel Chambers, director of product marketing at Citrix. “Concerns about security are top of mind for every size business this year, and organizations will seek out ways to keep data safe without investing hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, hosted desktops apps provide ease of access to company data, allowing employees to access their files from anywhere and any device.”

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The chief data officer position will gain momentum

“This is a sure sign of the pendulum swinging back—a company officer centrally managing the value of data,” says Jake Freivald, vice president of marketing at Information Builders. “And a CDO's job isn't to empower analysts per se, although that will often be part of what they do. The CDO's job is to extract maximum value from data. That can be done in many ways, including customer-facing portals, large-scale analytical apps, data feeds that stem from unified views of business entities, embedded BI inside other enterprise applications, and so on. So as the CDO position picks up steam, we can expect to see larger data-focused projects where information is managed and shared across divisional and even organizational boundaries, leading to better data monetization, lower per-user cost of data and higher business value per unit of data.”

The security community will utilize big data more effectively

“2016 was the year of ‘big data.’ However, organizations find themselves over their heads, particularly when they realize that the data clutter that comes with it makes informed security decisions as difficult as ever,” says Matt Rodgers, head of security Strategy at E8 Security. “Organizations have the information they need, but they cannot find it. In 2017, companies will start looking at their data sets through advanced analytics to identify trends and risks. Big organizations are already starting to augment their existing SIEM technology with behavior analytics capabilities to this end.”

Organizations crack down on IoT security policies

“The proliferation of DDoS attacks powered by IoT devices in 2016 will force many organizations to finally make themselves accountable for discovering and monitoring the security of all proprietary IoT assets,” says Matt Rodgers, head of security strategy at E8 Security. “Without the proper visibility, organizations in 2017 will inevitably fail to protect themselves or their stakeholders.”

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IoT gets dumber, not smarter

“A lot of attention has been given to ‘smart devices’ as proof of IoT’s growing influence,” notes Matt Dircks, chief executive officer at Bomgar. “The reality is a connected device doesn’t make it a smart device. The ‘things’ that are being connected are in many instances fire-and-forget in their simplicity, or are built-in features and tools we may not even know are there. This leads to a mindset of ignoring these ‘dumb’ devices without paying attention to the fact that these devices, while inherently ‘dumb’, are connected to the biggest party-line ever made: the Internet. The challenge we face today with the explosion of connected devices is as overwhelming as the period when companies realized they could monetize the Internet.”

Passwords finally grow up

“The recent DDoS attack that wreaked havoc on a huge portion of the Internet this past October is to blame, in part, on unchanged default passwords on IoT devices that hackers exploited,” says Matt Dircks, chief executive officer at Bomgar. “This security failure, in addition to ongoing use in the enterprise of inexcusably simplistic, common or old passwords, continues to make hackers’ jobs easy. Cybersecurity professionals will struggle to protect critical infrastructure, connected systems and remotely accessed systems and devices while weak password practices are in play. In addition, insider threats can be mitigated by better password management. The best passwords are those that users and vendors can’t control—more companies will begin to use solutions that securely store passwords and regularly validate and rotate them to ensure safety and user security.”

CISOs will shift toward granularly identifying information

“Depending on your business, digital information on average is doubling every three to nine months,” notes Ankur Laroia, solutions strategy and security leader at Alfresco. “The knee-jerk reaction is to protect all that stuff—contain it behind hyper secure firewalls, deploy DLP (data loss prevention/protection) technologies at the parameter and key core switches, leverage active packet inspection technologies at the parameter, lock down USB ports. Those are all good countermeasures that help partially solve for, but don’t prevent, the issue. In 2017 and beyond, you will see a more deliberate movement by CISOs toward first identifying what exactly it is they are securing and assigning security levels to that content. This isn’t about locking down more data to make it unusable—rather, it’s about making the data usable with pervasive, invisible governance around it.”

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Organizations will step up defenses against ransomware

“In 2017, organizations will take ransomware more seriously and implement ways to rapidly identify compromised content and automate its recovery,” predicts Don Foster, senior director of solutions marketing and technical alliances at Commvault. “Ransomware has proved to be one of the most effective ways to infiltrate an organization, and cybercriminals are increasingly becoming better at embedding viruses into innocent-looking email attachments. Organizations need to figure out how to classify, separate, and wall off their data to reduce the risk of data being inappropriately accessed and permanently lost. Discussions need to take place at the board level about an organization's data recovery strategy and its intersection with its security and ransomware strategy to keep sensitive data out of the hands of the wrong people.”

Comfort in the cloud

“The concerns about security and loss of control in the cloud will be a thing of the past in 2017,” predicts Christian Gonzalez, chief executive officer and co-founder of Wovenware. “For a remote and highly mobile workforce, the cloud, which only requires an Internet connection to be accessed, has become an attractive delivery model. Yet what will drive a new level of cloud worshippers in 2017 is the growth of PaaS solutions, which provide a platform for customers to run and manage their applications in the cloud without the complexity of building the associated infrastructure or algorithms. As AI-based predictive analytics and other complex solutions continue to take hold, companies will realize how difficult they are to develop in the data center and they will increasingly rely on PaaS-based solutions.”