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4/22/2012
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How To Secure Large Data Warehouses

As more businesses consolidate sensitive data in high-capacity warehouses, the question becomes how to properly secure these potential treasure-houses. Here are some tips

[Excerpted from "Securing the Data Warehouse," a new report posted this week on Dark Reading's Database Security Tech Center.]

Sony. RSA. Epsilon. Aside from major security breaches, what do these companies have in common? They were all victimized by hackers looking to access large storehouses of corporate data.

Shielding such data from attacks must be a chief priority for any enterprise security team. That means guarding the house in which data resides: the database -- or, in a growing number of instances, the data warehouse.

With the amount of data in organizations increasing daily, many enterprises are building data warehouses to centralize the information flowing through their business into useful repositories. From a business and IT standpoint, this makes perfect sense and simplifies data management.

From a security standpoint, however, the model opens up a new set of challenges that requires smart planning and the effective implementation of many of the same security best practices used with databases.

But there are new lessons to be learned, as well, and the wrong set of security constraints can hurt the productivity of your warehouse just as surely as an attack.

Among its predictions for 2012, analyst firm IDC predicted the volume of digital data would jump to 2.7 billion Tbytes, up 48 percent from 2011. By 2015, the firm predicts, that figure will reach 8 billion Tbytes. In many enterprises, much of this data makes its way into a data warehouse, where it can be pulled out by business intelligence (BI) tools and aggregated into reports that can be leveraged by a business to enable better analysis. The goal of making massive amounts of data available to users is a lofty one, but it is also one that requires erecting protections to keep data safe and block unauthorized access.

At its heart, data warehouse security revolves around the areas of data classification, data protection, and identity and access management.

During the planning phase, organizations should develop their security process by doing the following:

* Identify the data to be migrated; * Determine the data’s business value; and * Classify the data according to its sensitivity.

To discover more about the process of classifying sensitive data -- and to find out about best practices for securing that data and building the right access methodology -- download the free report.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

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