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  • Federal agencies that use big data analytics as part of their cyber-security strategy are improving their data security and reducing cyber breaches, according to a survey released by MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on the government information industry, and underwritten by Cloudera, a provider of Apache Hadoop-based software. The majority of survey respondents said they've successfully used big data to stop cyber-attacks and report a decline in security breaches. The report, "Navigating the Cyber-security Equation," finds that 81 percent of the 150 federal IT managers surveyed used big data analytics for cyber-security in some capacity. However, many still face adoption roadblocks, including a shortage of skilled talent, privacy concerns and poor management support, along with data analysis hurdles, ranging from the sheer volume of data to not having the right systems to gather the information they need. Nearly six in 10 agencies face a cyber-security compromise at least once a month due to their inability to analyze the data fully. For security providers, this means agencies need help collecting and analyzing data as part of their cyber-security programs. Here's a look at key survey takeaways.

  • Cyber-security is a game of spy versus spy that today still requires IT security professionals to be lucky and smart. Aiming to reduce their reliance on luck, many IT organizations are investing in cyber-security analytics apps based on big data platforms. A new survey of 592 IT and security professionals conducted by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of Cloudera, a provider of a distribution of the open-source Hadoop platform for storing and processing big data, finds that demand for cyber-security analytics apps is growing rapidly. For solution providers in the channel, this creates two opportunities: helping internal IT organizations build and deploy these apps or making them available as a managed service. In either scenario, Cloudera partners report seeing an average 71 percent increase in the volume of data their clients are able to store, an average 80 percent increase in data processing speeds and an average 84 percent increase in the amount of data clients that are able to analyze. While advanced cyber-security analytics apps may not stop every attack, they may go far in evening out the poor IT security odds many organizations face.

  • Although many businesses understand that they're ability to defend themselves from IT security attacks is relatively weak, most of them are not in a position to do much about it, according to the findings of a new survey of 4,000 business executives conducted by Kaspersky Lab. The good news is that investments in IT security are on the rise across the board. The biggest limiting factor, however, may not be the actual size of IT budgets. Rather, organizations are reporting that that even though almost half are looking to hire additional security personnel, nearly half also say there is a shortage of IT security talent. At the same time, half the respondents say that in terms of wages, it's becoming more difficult to recruit and retain IT security professionals. Those statistics bode well for increased demand for IT service providers in the channel. Yet, as short-handed as organizations are, only a little more than one-fourth of the respondents said an external audit of their IT security was an effective means of discovering whether the organization has been compromised. Channel Insider examines key takeaways from the study.

  • The Cloud Security Alliance recently published a new handbook, "The Big Data Security and Privacy Handbook: 100 Best Practices in Big Data Security and Privacy," aimed at helping big data solution providers reduce security and privacy threats that are growing and evolving as big data is collected and consumed in the cloud. "As big data expands through streaming cloud technology, traditional security mechanisms tailored to secure small-scale, static data on firewalled and semi-isolated networks are inadequate," J.R. Santos, executive vice president of research for the CSA, said in a statement. One of biggest challenges big data providers face as they migrate to the cloud is ensuring real-time security, which includes putting measures in place that stop unauthorized access to data. Compliance monitoring also is a key issue for providers as they create guidelines to determine how they can use the data, while ensuring that privacy laws and regulations are met. From CSA's massive listing, we've gleaned 10 best practices for delivering real-time security and compliance monitoring.

  • It's no secret that safeguarding business and customer data is a big concern for companies. In mergers and acquisitions (M&As) world, cyber-security is a hot button. With nearly 800 data breaches in the United State last year, according to Identity Theft Resource Center, coupled with the hefty cost of these attacks, acquirers are looking closely at cyber-security due diligence when they buy companies. The importance of cyber-security issues at M&A targets has increased greatly in the past two years, according to nearly 80 percent of North America-based senior M&A practitioners who responded to a survey commissioned by West Monroe Partners and conducted by MergerMarket. The report finds that as the need for cyber-security due diligence rises, deal makers are faced with roadblocks, ranging from the lack of employees with the right skill sets to conduct security analyses to a lack of thoroughness and the uncovering of problems after the deals close. Here are key takeaways from the survey that show where managed security service providers and other security solution providers can help ease the pain during cyber-security due diligence.