Big Money Protecting Big Data: The Emerging Data Security Industry

by Jeff Wiener on October 30, 2015

As data has become an increasingly valuable commodity to businesses around the world, it really is no surprise that it has become such a high value target for cyber-criminals as well. Over this last year we’ve seen an exponential jump in devastating corporate cyber-attacks, hacks that have left corporate data networks in shambles and exposed sensitive information, both corporate and personal, to the world.

But who is responsible for the security of our connected data, whether it be on the cloud or even on our mobile devices? It seems the answer is a classic case of passing the buck, hoping that someone else will take the blame, or at least offer a way to mitigate future risk. As DisruptiveViews’ Tony Poulos writes, “When something goes wrong fingers are pointed in every direction and there is a wild scramble to keep a lid on just how critical the leak is, go into denial or open up with the promise of better security moving forward.”

Now of course now of these responses are good enough, and those impacted by data loss are increasingly clamouring for better protection, and in many cases, demanding compensation for the lost data. This very real ethos of vulnerability has created a field day for lawyers and insurance companies, those quick to collect on others’ cybersecurity missteps, but that still doesn’t answer the real question: who is in charge of this whole security mess? And as usual, the answer is paradoxically complicated: everyone and no one, a veritable vacuum that awaits competent and comprehensive data security solutions.

The ease at which hackers seem to be able to gain access to vulnerable networks, steal the data, and either release it to the public or sell it to the highest bidder not only consistently demonstrates just how vulnerable we are, but it has created a financial quagmire of liability, as shrewd lawyers are ready to collect damages from data loss due to vulnerable networks and lax security protocols.

Not only that, but cyber-insurance has become the new must have protection, but even that is a Catch-22, as many companies have found recently that damages due to data loss exceed any sort of coverage insurance companies are willing to provide.

The ironic thing in all this, from a telecom perspective at least, is that while carriers are struggling to find ways to monetize the massive amounts of data they have, hackers and other ne’er-do-wells have easily done it already. That’s not to say that carriers should involve themselves in this sort of business, but as Poulos explains, it is a clear demonstration that data security has created its own industry, one currently dominated by criminals, and ironically enough, one that could be transformed by the very same.

So while lawyers and insurance companies are cashing in on everyone’s justified paranoia, it seems there is a unique opportunity that is presenting itself here for the intrepid few “ethical” hackers as well For you see, hacking is all about money, and I would guess that companies around the world would be willing to pay a pretty penny for some reliable data security right about now, the sort of security that can seemingly only be provided by those who know where the vulnerabilities are and how to exploit them.

Now back to the original question, who is responsible for data security, let me say that even with ‘ethical’ hackers on board it really only solves a part of the problem. As Poulos writes, “There are so many opportunities afforded the hackers at every level that only a concerted awareness campaign will highlight just how exposed we all are.” The fact of the matter is that everyone is responsible for creating safer, more secure networks.

But just how to manage all those variables will be the real money-maker here, as again there exists a void in the data security industry for security auditors, those who can investigate and identify vulnerabilities, as well as manage and protect networks, ostensibly creating an entirely new sub-industry built on our current efforts…big money for those who know how to provide data security, and how to do it well.

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