The NSA's Big Data Storage Challenges and BYOD Data Security: Weekly Roundup

As digital data production increases every year, so do the challenges associated with storing and securing that data. It's a lesson that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has learned the hard way. Amid the fallout from the Snowden leak, the agency has found how important it is to proactively instill sound data policies and processes. Here's a look at the top U.S. spy agency's revamped data protection policies, and other stories from around the Web this week: 

NSA Strives to Prevent Data Breaches

The NSA has one major initiative on their hands this year: to harness and secure the vast amounts of Big Data that it collects. According to the former director of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, the world will create more than 3.5 zettabytes of information during 2014 alone. Speaking at the American Council for Technology's conference this week, Alexander said, “We’re living in the age of big data and we have to figure out how to harness it. That’s what the future is going to be about. Think about 3.5 zettabyes of data. Big data is absolutely vital. The changes that will come to our nation in science, technology, biomedical and health care will be phenomenal.”     

Read more at DefenseOne  

Keep Data Secure in a BYOD Workplace  

According to Gartner research, 50 percent of firms will no longer offer BYOD as an option by 2017. Instead, it will be a requirement. One consequence is that employers and IT pros alike will need to examine data protection processes to balance security and easy mobile access to that data. "Any company taking the BYOD route — large or small — needs to have a clear and easy-to-understand BYOD policy, a policy that everyone needs to be aware of," says technology author Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. 

IT pros and mobility managers will need to have a plan in place for tracking and storing data on company texts, data usage, mobile apps and more to prevent misuse and to keep corporate data secure. "You have to set out very clearly what is and what isn't allowed, and you have to be able to communicate this to clearly to employees," says Hughes.      

Read more at ZDNet  

Is Your Business Ready for the Cloud? 

As cloud computing grew in popularity, many businesses rushed into migrating to public or private clouds. That according to Bill Kleyman, national director of strategy and innovation at MTM Technologies. This overzealousness resulted in many businesses that put the wrong applications or databases in a public cloud. Every business is unique, but Kleyman offers several ways to help companies determine whether they are ready for the cloud: 

  • Review your business model and goals: "The first thing to understand will be your current business model and where your organization is headed," says Kleyman. 
  • Assess your user base's needs: Companies should ask themselves how well they can ensure a great user experience in the cloud.
  • Examine your existing logical infrastructure: "How old are those apps? Can pieces of your environment even run on a cloud platform?"

Read more at Data Center Knowledge  

Smartphone Kill Switch: Not a Security Panacea  

In California, state legislators are pushing to require "kill-switches" on mobile devices that would allow users to remotely wipe devices in case of loss or theft. Some opponents, however, fear that the measure could actually jeopardize security. "Some companies—which likely includes many SMBs on relatively tighter budgets—may view the kill switch as a convenient shortcut to a data security solution on employee-owned devices," says Jeff Rubin, co-founder and vice president of product strategy at Beachhead Solutions.

 

The employee, not the company, would have control over the kill-switch. Rubin warns that employees are likely to err on the side of caution. "And by that time, it's probably much too late to protect sensitive data from mischievous eyes," Rubin says.

Read more at FierceCIO

[Image via Can Stock Photo]