Businesses fumbling cloud-based big data priorities

The latest survey conducted by CA Technologies, has revealed that 84 per cent of businesses are now attuned to the potential benefits of big data hosted in the cloud. This serves to indicate that word about such systems is spreading quickly across the world.

Of those organisations that have already adopted big data at this point, 88 per cent believe that it will help them to boost revenues, or have already begun to experience the positive benefits of adoption.

However, TechRepublic reports that there is a discrepancy between the eagerness with which the cloud is being used to fuel big data expansion and the levels of access that businesses are comfortable in providing to employees.

Just over a third of respondents said that they intend to raise the rates with which staff were given access to the data and analytical tools afforded to them by the cloud.

The upshot of this could be that most employees remain in the dark about the way that big data works, which could be a limiting factor in the growth of many businesses. Meanwhile, control over this market will remain in the hands of a relatively small group of experts.

This will be good for the individuals who are already trained in how to best use big data platforms, but could mean that the next generation of individuals who could potentially operate in this field will not get the opportunity to do so, because access to platforms is so restricted at the moment.

Some observers argue that businesses and the cloud industry as a whole need to do more to democratise access to the data and tools which are being deployed at present. Without this, the true potential of this technology may be a lot harder to realise.

Big data proposed as solution to cloud security threats

Chinese firm, Huawei, this month unveiled its plans to leverage big data in order to boost security in cloud computing environments and beyond. This encompasses not only data centres but also the remote devices which rely on them to provide a range of software and storage services.

APT (advanced persistent threat) attacks that might otherwise compromise an entire cloud solution are targeted by the firm’s solution, with end to end protection ensuring that this type of operating environment is much safer for businesses and consumers alike.

This solution is being developed in response to the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), which spokesperson, Liu Lizhu, said not only creates many opportunities but brings with it a range of previously unforeseen security risks that have to be addressed.

Without encryption in place, almost three quarters of IoT devices remain vulnerable to exploitation. And since these devices intrinsically rely on the cloud to bolster their capabilities, a big data solution to the threats is seen as being the most efficient and powerful one available.

Orchestrated DDoS attacks, powered by malicious botnets that are often available to cybercriminals to hire for whatever actions they have planned, can also be counteracted through the power of big data, according to Huawei researchers. And since more businesses are migrating mission-critical apps and data to the public cloud, being able to ensure that everything remains accessible, even when an assault is being levelled against a particular data centre, is of paramount importance.

Most importantly, it is possible for attacks to be detected and deflected in real time. And there is little doubt that improved cloud security like this will act as a deterrent to individuals or groups, who would otherwise seek to breach systems and take advantage of any weaknesses.

Cloud providers voice concern over new EU data protection plans

The EU is in the process of drafting a new set of regulations which are designed to provide data protection across all member states. But there are fears that the rules may lead to problems for the firms which offer cloud computing to customers across the continent, according to Computing.co.uk.

Various major cloud vendors have come out to make public statements about the potential impact of the regulations. They are arguing that the powers being given to individuals to take legal action against the companies which store and process their personal data, will damage the industry immensely.

Cloud providers will also face steep fines under the new rules if they are found to have broken any part of the data protection legislation. Rather than charging a flat fee, the regulatory body will have the ability to fine organisations based on their annual turnover, which could lead to astronomical sums being paid.

Critics fear that cloud computing may well be seriously compromised as a result of the regulations, which have taken three years to be finalised. And it is not just providers from the US that are critical of the EU’s plans, but also companies based in Germany and other countries.

The intent of the EU is to make sure that the regulations governing data protection are unified across all member states, which it argues will also help to increase economic growth, in spite of the protests being made by tech firms.

Current data protection regulations do not hold cloud providers accountable for the information they store because they process it but do not collect it. The EU wants this to change, so that there is a level of liability in the market not currently available, as a result of existing rules being formulated long before the cloud was widespread.

Security threat posed by cloud exploit

Security is an issue which dogs the cloud industry and causes sceptics to argue that mission-critical solutions should not be hosted on public platforms. And in most instances, the threats are over exaggerated or entirely fabricated.

However, this month a new vulnerability in the way virtual machines operate has been uncovered and there are concerns that this weakness could be exploited, causing major problems for providers and users alike.

The so called Venom vulnerability contravenes the idea that virtual machines hosted in the cloud are distinct from one another and so do not allow users to leap from one virtualised operating environment to another.

So while the promise of keeping ecosystems separate in the cloud is regularly made by vendors, Venom reveals that it is possible to leapfrog from one virtual machine to another. And this might mean that hackers could compromise the systems of more than one cloud customer, according to researchers at CrowdStrike.

A number of affected cloud platforms have been identified and the exploit is founded on a bug that is triggered by a buffer overflow in a virtual machine’s floppy disk controller, according to Ars Technia.

Although some have argued that Venom may ultimately have ramifications that are as far-reaching as the Heartbleed bug, that reared its head back in 2014, others are certain that the extent of the impact of this new fault will not be nearly as significant.

The good news in this instance, as well as in any scenario involving security vulnerabilities unearthed in the cloud industry, is that vendors have a competitive incentive to find solutions and patch any issues out of existence.

This innate need to make the cloud as safe as possible, so that customer confidence is restored, is what makes the market so responsive to threats.

Businesses fumbling cloud-based big data priorities

The latest survey conducted by CA Technologies, has revealed that 84 per cent of businesses are now attuned to the potential benefits of big data hosted in the cloud. This serves to indicate that word about such systems is spreading quickly across the world.

Of those organisations that have already adopted big data at this point, 88 per cent believe that it will help them to boost revenues, or have already begun to experience the positive benefits of adoption.

However, TechRepublic reports that there is a discrepancy between the eagerness with which the cloud is being used to fuel big data expansion and the levels of access that businesses are comfortable in providing to employees.

Just over a third of respondents said that they intend to raise the rates with which staff were given access to the data and analytical tools afforded to them by the cloud.

The upshot of this could be that most employees remain in the dark about the way that big data works, which could be a limiting factor in the growth of many businesses. Meanwhile, control over this market will remain in the hands of a relatively small group of experts.

This will be good for the individuals who are already trained in how to best use big data platforms, but could mean that the next generation of individuals who could potentially operate in this field will not get the opportunity to do so, because access to platforms is so restricted at the moment.

Some observers argue that businesses and the cloud industry as a whole need to do more to democratise access to the data and tools which are being deployed at present. Without this, the true potential of this technology may be a lot harder to realise.