Is penetration testing the solution to securing your big data?

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If cyber criminals manage to hack their way into accessing your company’s big data, a lot is going to be at stake.

They gain access to your customers’ DoB, names, addresses, passwords, and other highly-sensitive data


That, right there, can wreck your business from the inside out.

You can get lawsuits upon lawsuits, your reputation can be damaged beyond repair, and your customers might end up hating you for the rest of their life.

All this because you didn’t secure your big data.

If you want to prevent hackers from infiltrating your network, one of the best cybersecurity methods your can employ is penetration testing.

By running pen tests, you can uncover how vulnerable your company is to cyber attacks since it checks your system for weaknesses, and develop security plans and measures to help prevent data breaches. 

In this post, we’ll take a look at how penetration testing can help you establish a more secure big data environment and protect your business from potential threats.  

Responding to concerns over securing big data

One of the best ways to establish reliable security measures is to strengthen the weak spots in your big data environment. But to do that, you’ll need to know what your vulnerabilities are first. 

Penetration testing can provide a solution by assessing the components in your big data environment -- from your overall architecture to each node in your configuration clusters. 

A pen testing can include checking your authentication schemes and how you’re restricting access, authorization levels to see who has data access, your encryption standards for data at rest and in transit, and more. 

The process also involves evaluating your role-based access levels, whether or not your clusters are running in secure cloud locations, and the kind of data elements that you need to protect under specific geographies and regulations. 

In a nutshell, performing penetration testing will help you understand if you have security issues in your big data environment, identify those vulnerabilities, and know how to fix them.  

Big data vulnerabilities

Without the right security controls in place, taking a big data approach to your business can come with huge risks and open you up to many weak spots in your system.

Plus, with how sophisticated cyber threat actors are getting with carrying out attacks, even your network-connected device can be used by hackers to gain unauthorized access to your systems -- which makes it crucial for you to secure your data on IoT devices.

Based on studies, the three kinds of vulnerabilities that are still plaguing big data processes and management privacy, security, and the lack of standards. 

For instance, most big data security challenges can be rooted in the lack of secure access channels for cloud databases and authentication mechanisms. 

And because of how massive the scope of big data is, segmenting users based on a need-to-know basis can result in access control failures when user origins are not monitored consistently. 

Weak security measures - especially for your distributed systems and transfers - can also leave your big data and critical infrastructures vulnerable to hackers. 

All these vulnerabilities make penetration testing all the more essential to help you establish security controls that keep your big data secure.  

Setting security controls 

To help prevent hackers from breaking into your systems, you’ll need to identify and monitor your vulnerabilities -- and set up measures that support big data security. 

Running a penetration test will help you conduct a big data security review and determine the security controls that you can strengthen. 

For example, a pen test can evaluate your authorization and access controls and recommend measures like maintaining auditable and robust access control procedures and policies to mitigate insider threats. 

Pen testing will also help you assess whether or not your endpoint security has the right measures in place -- including implementing security updates to block firmware attacks and having data team personas with authentication profiles, plus insider threat monitoring.

This helps ensure that your data is protected from potential threats from compromised endpoint devices. 

Encrypting all your data will always be an excellent security practice, and pen testing will help you assess whether or not things like your key management isn’t going to be a weak point that hackers can easily access. 

Why investing in pen testing is worth your big data security.

Penetration testing often isn’t a one-time process since your systems, networks, data elements, and more can be highly dynamic. 

And because you will be processing and analyzing massive amounts of data, you’ll also be dealing with new software, manage patches, and more -- which can require frequent testing.

Although pen testing frequency will depend on several factors like the size of your company, system infrastructure, and security compliance (among other things), you might find it challenging to maintain a regular schedule due to the cost. 

On average, the price of pen testing can range from $4,000 to $100,000. It might be a huge amount, but when done properly, the test is worth the price of your securing your data, upholding your reputation, and keeping your business-critical information safe. 

Pricing can also depend on pen testing factors like the scope of the test, the methodology to be used, the skills and experience of your pen tester or service provider, and the remediation or retesting. 

The more critical or complex your system infrastructure is, the higher the budget requirement will be for the test.  

With the benefits that the test can bring to the overall security of your business, investing in pen testing will give you the peace of mind you need.  

Plus, testing helps ensure that you’re complying with both external and internal security standards and maintain the trust you’ve established with your customers.

Final Thoughts 

The goal of penetration testing isn’t to shield your data 100% from cyber threats - rather, it’s a comprehensive assessment of your system that will help you assess vulnerabilities that malicious actors can easily exploit.

By running penetration tests, you can understand your current exposure and potential risks, develop a realistic risk reduction plan, and help you establish a secure big data environment. 

When you can secure your big data, you can protect your customers’ data and your other confidential information that will help you bolster your strategies and boost your profits. 

Did you learn a thing or two from this post? Please don’t hesitate to share this if you agree. Cheers!