Data is a critical part of our lives. It’s the key to success in today’s society, and it is considered by Forbes as the second-largest asset in the world, with a total value of $3.5 trillion this year. However, data security is becoming more and more important as we realize that data can be susceptible and abused if not appropriately secured. What exactly is big data? How does it connect to data security? In this blog post, I will provide examples of big-data features, reasons for concern on your current data security measures, define big data with its definitions from IBM and Gartner, and discuss how blockchain may have some solutions for these concerns through encryption such as hashing technology.
Big data is generally used to describe the massive amount of daily data from all devices connected to the internet. Primarily, this term is used for data collected from social media networks, credit card transactions, and devices connected to the internet, such as smartphones and wearable devices.
Big data covers two types of characteristics:
- Volume: the information quantity that traditional tools can not process;
- Variety: the different kinds of information sent over a network that databases cannot currently handle.
Examples of big-data companies include Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Amazon, and IBM.
Gartner defines Big Data as having 3Vs: Volume, Velocity, and Variety.
- Volume: The large amount of data we collect from multiple sources, not just the web.
- Velocity: The real-time speed at which machines are processing the data.
- Variety: The many different formats and types that the data can come in.
Doug Laney first introduced big data in 2001 as “data beyond the relational scale.” But it wasn’t until 2007 that it was renamed big data as it became more relevant to our daily lives of technology today.
The thing about our society is that it is centered on data. From social media to financial transactions to satellites and GPS, all of these things are data-driven. Data security is becoming more important as we realize more clearly the potential for data abuse, and this has to do with the two main characteristics of big data: Volume and Variety.
Encryption technology can only encrypt data for a specific time. The length of time depends on the level of encryption and the size and type of data. However, blockchain comes in if we create an algorithm that could encrypt data forever.
Big-data companies consist of many servers storing information in different formats and types. This makes it difficult to trace back who accessed the data when; however, big-data companies have been collecting this information since they began, so they know what details to give up in the case law if necessary.
The big-data companies have been collecting this data to better their products and offer more relevant information to their users; however, they have accumulated a significant amount of sensitive information. In the case of Equifax, 143 million people were affected by their data breach in September 2017. This number represents almost half of the United States population. “Because Equifax collects so much personal information, it makes consumers especially vulnerable to identity theft.” This can be very problematic because if a criminal gets your identity, they can apply for credit cards and loans in your name without you knowing. Additionally, an incorrect entry into your social media account can damage your reputation and identity.
Blockchain can help solve many of these problems.
- The first-way blockchain is related to data security is through encryption. It was developed as a solution for hacking in the early 2000s when data was leaking every day from companies such as Amazon and Adobe. With companies like Adobe, Sony, RSA, and Microsoft all reporting hacks of systems that hold sensitive data, it’s clear that blockchain has the potential to become a significant part of data security protection tools.
- The second-way blockchain is related to data security by using encryption. Cryptography is a solution for data protection. How does encryption work? It uses multiple steps to preserve information and prevent unauthorized access. “Although the keys can create unbreakable codes, they are vulnerable if they are not kept secure.” Encryption today uses high-tech computer programs called hash functions. Hash functions can make slight changes to data but will still identify it and match it back up with the original data.
But what if all your files were scrambled, and the only person who could unscramble them was you? That’s precisely what happens when you encrypt your data on the blockchain. This method of security is called “hashing.” Hashing is a code used to identify information based on specific algorithms to transform the data into an unrecognizable form and then store them in a database.
- Hashing is a very secure way of storing personal information. It creates a unique fingerprint for each file.
- Hashing creates a 32-character string from any information you give it, and this code can’t be reversed to get the original data back. This makes it more difficult for hackers to access information that isn’t theirs.
- This technology is used to store your credit card information, social security number, bank account numbers, and others online.
Hashing is also used in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Ethereum, and Zcash. These digital currencies are based on blockchain technology, allowing them to use hashing. The cryptocurrency uses this encryption with Proof-of-Work algorithms, which work together to verify transactions on the network.
Big data has many benefits, but one thing to keep in mind is that it can be used for good and evil. Blockchain technology allows you to have complete control of your information while still accessing it. This can prevent criminals from getting your sensitive data and make everything more secure. It also keeps your data safe by making it more difficult for hackers to access them. Internet security is a growing concern for businesses and individuals. Companies need to protect their data on the internet and ensure that customers’ personal information is secure.