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Big Data awareness week further highlights challenges

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Businesses across the UK are failing to turn the data at their disposal into a competitive advantage.

In ‘Big Data awareness week', Eddie Short, KPMG's head of data and analytics, said that businesses across the UK are unsure on how to make the move from being ‘collectors of information' to ‘users of insight'. 

In a blog post, he said that leadership in many organisations is increasingly demanding that data collection extends beyond customer and competitor intelligence.

He said: “Collecting information for its own sake increases the risk of organisations drowning under a sea of information. The real test of a healthy analytics capability is whether it keeps an organisation focused.

“In other words, in the current environment - where cash-flow is tight – only if data analytics highlights what products and services need to be stopped or improved to delight customers and consumers, is it doing a good job.”

He argued that three years ago, some commentators suggested that data would become the new currency of business and since then, information has clearly moved to the core of most organisations. In his view, three years from now it will be the businesses combining their hunger for data with an appetite to match it with the needs of their business who will succeed "and become masters of their own data".

Writing on the Securosis blog, researcher and principle Adrian Lane said that Big Data is being touted as a ‘transformative' technology for security event analysis.

He said: “Many customers are asking ‘Wait, don't I already have security incident and event management (SIEM) for event analysis?' Yes, you do, and SIEM is designed and built to solve the same problems – but seven-to-eight years ago – and it is failing to keep up with current problems.

“It's not just that we're trying to scale up to a much larger set of data, but we also need to react to events in an order of magnitude faster than before. Still more troubling is that we are collecting multiple types of data, each requiring new and different analysis techniques to detect advanced attacks. Oh, and while all that slows down SIEM and log management systems, you are under the gun to identify attacks faster than before.”

He went on to say that rather than being all theory and speculation, Big Data is currently being employed to detect security threats, address new requirements for IT security, and even help gauge the effectiveness of other security investments.

“Big Data natively addresses ever-increasing event volume and the rate at which we need to examine new events. There is no question that it holds promise for security intelligence, both in the numerous ways it can parse information and through its native capabilities to sift proverbial needles from monstrous haystacks,” Lane said.

In February, RSA chief security officer Eddie Schwartz told SC Magazine that security needs to become more Big Data aware, saying that the Big Data challenge "won't be fixed in 2013, but we will see it explode in the enterprise as some will say they are not ready yet".

There is also the challenge of a lack of data analysts, as highlighted by Splunk and by the ‘Big Data London' group, who found that 77.9 per cent of its 131 respondents believed there is a shortage.

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