How Big of a Problem is Misconfigured Data?

Data is now everywhere. It’s gathered by countless organisations, consumers provide it to businesses through a multitude of channels and the amount continues to tick upwards.

This is for good reason, too, as data that’s relevant to a company can prove extremely valuable. Organisations are able to better understand particular markets and develop new marketing and sales strategies in line with customer expectations.

Given the growing importance of this information, many would think that effective data management is a top priority for many businesses. According to new research from Swedish firm BinaryEdge, this isn’t the case.

Data leaking a serious issue

The firm explained that there is currently over a petabyte of data exposed online, due to issues with enterprise technologies. Weak default settings and other configuration problems were noted as the primary causes of exposed information.

What’s worrying is that the firm only investigated four technologies, including databases, as part of the investigation. Potentially, there could be countless terabytes of exposed data. This is data that could be extremely sensitive.

BinaryEdge noted that a big problem comes down to the systems businesses are using to manage data.

“Versions installed are quite often old and not updated, which means that, in some cases, not only is data exposed but even servers can be compromised,” 

Mr Henriques, chief executive at BinaryEdge said.

“Companies are still figuring out how to use these technologies and by default they are not secure.”

He went on to explain the approach was company took in order to investigate the data leaks. Such an approach could serve as a lesson for other businesses.

“We obviously didn’t look at the actual data at all. However, we did do a small analysis on database/keys names. What we did with each technology was write probes that would request service status, like versions used, and database metadata, like names and sizes,” he said.

Security research John Matherly also highlighted the security of databases, confirming to SC Magazine that the root cause of the problem is usually configuration errors.

“I could go on and on about these sorts of problems because they’re everywhere and haven’t been resolved for years,” he explained. “Hopefully, more people will start looking at services that are responsible for the actual data and not solely focus on the web interfaces.”

Failing to ensure the security of sensitive data can often lead to issues such as data breaches, but there’s a another major problem. A lack of effective security would seem to show that organisations aren’t controlling data correctly, which in turn means issues can bleed into other areas. For example, when specific information needs to be retrieved.

With the quantity of data continuing to grow, businesses need to take action. This can start with an understanding of the available approaches.



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Getting data in order

For businesses already utilising Big Data applications and those planning to take advantage of information in the near future, it’s important to support this effort with a comprehensive management framework.

An information governance implementation should be one of the first steps a company takes, as it involves implementing the technical components to manage the value and risks of information. These are effective, as they govern the complete lifecycle of information. In effect, ensuring that it’s managed correctly from creation (when it’s first entered into a system) right through to destruction (when it’s purged). For sensitive customer data, few approaches can offer such a level of dependability.

Furthermore, information governance implementations can be put in place early and scaled up as the company continues to grow. This ensures the service is always tailored exactly to the needs of the business. Finally, the roles and responsibilities for effective governance are established from the outset.

With some Big Data apps leaking like sieves, it’s important for businesses to ensure effective governance before it can become an issue. Speak to Mastersoft today to learn more about information governance approaches that use best-in-class systems and processes.