Big Data analysis described as a major skill shortage in security

News by Dan Raywood

A shortage of capable Big Data analysts is a major challenge for businesses.

A shortage of capable Big Data analysts is a major challenge for businesses.

Speaking to SC Magazine, Sarb Sembhi, chair of the ISACA government & regulatory advisory sub-committee for Europe and Africa, and a past-president of the London chapter, said that in terms of the infosec skills shortage Big Data analysis is one of the most prominent.

He said that security people have to get closer to data, and closer than they have ever got before. “That involves understanding Big Data within social media and in warehouses,” he said.

“Getting closer to the data is something security people have not been involved with, but no single person in the organisation will have a good overview, and the responsibility will come down to the security people, as they are going to have to have data people to understand it while they themselves will have to understand all data across the organisation. Those skills are really lacking.”

Sembhi explained that in a project his company had been involved with, a client was dealing with a breach and they had to help them understand what data they had on their customers.

“It might be emails, or emails and home addresses, or credit card details or something even more sensitive. So we broke it down to how they needed to respond to each client,” he said.

A report by the Big Data London group from last year found that 77.9 per cent of respondents believed there is a shortage of skilled people, while 70 per cent thought that there is a knowledge gap between the skilled Big Data workers and those commissioning projects. The survey of 131 members also found that more than three-quarters of respondents said learning ‘on the job' (80 per cent) and ‘self-teaching' (72 per cent) are the best ways of keeping up to date with the latest Big Data skills.

Sembhi said: “People don't need policies and documentation, what they need is a single document that gives them what they need to do, and as a professional service they need to give that to their clients and they need a policy on how to treat internal data and how they treat client data.

“That and an understanding of data loss is quite complex and needs to be understood at some level in an organisation, as at the moment it is not and it is looked at by people who have worked with it.”

Amar Singh, CISO at News International and head of the UK security group at ISACA, said that skills such as privacy and analytics are needed, particularly around the need to understand how Big Data can help.

He said: “Big Data is a skill that will be required around information security and finding Big Data itself is not that easy as it does not mean anything unless you go into it and know what to do with the data.”


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