RSA 2012: SHadoop Adds Security To Big Data

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Zettaset’s SHadoop is intended to make it easier for organisations to control user access to data within Hadoop clusters

Zettaset unveiled SHadoop, a new security initiative that would help organisations manage and control employee access to data in Hadoop environments.

SHadoop would integrate security functions that would allow administrators to implement role-based access control within the company’s Hadoop Orchestrator platform, Zettaset said on 22 February. With the new tools, administrators can create base policies that specify what users can or cannot do with data on a Hadoop platform.

Policy definition

The policies are defined using the user’s group and role. Users can be restricted from executing certain jobs if they aren’t classified in a specific category. Users can also be prevented from importing or exporting certain types of data, Zettaset said. With SHadoop, administrators can track, log and audit all user and group activity.

“Hadoop is the best solution for handling big data and is constantly improving, but it hasn’t focused on security” said Brian Christian, Zettaset’s CTO.

Organisations use Apache Hadoop Distributed File System to store and manage petabytes and petabytes of data from disparate data sources. Hadoop is far more efficient at aggregating and organising structured and unstructured data than traditional relational database management systems. Many organisations rely on Hadoop to aggregate and analyse data collected from websites, social media, emails, audio and video, and data gathered from sensors. “Big Data” is used for a broad range of purposes, including fraud detection and security analysis.

Social networking giant Facebook is among the many companies that use Hadoop.

At the moment, Hadoop does not have many built-in controls beyond access control lists and Kerberos-based authentication. The SHadoop layer would “mitigate known architectural and input validation issues” and improve user role audit tracking and user level security, Zettaset said.

Future version of SHadoop will include a way for organisation to encrypt the data stored in a Hadoop cluster or as they are being transmitted between Hadoop nodes, according to Zettaset.

Managing big data

Zettaset’s tools are designed to make it easier and more affordable for small and mid-sized businesses to use big data, the company said. Even though open-source versions of Hadoop are freely available, many organisations shy away from using them because the task of managing the clusters are still challenging.

In fact, a recent study sponsored by LogLogic found that many IT professionals are still very confused about what Big Data is, and how to work with it. About 38 percent of survey respondents said they do not have a clear understanding of what big data is, and nearly half of those respondents were somewhat or very concerned about managing big data.

More than half of the survey participants, about 59 percent, said they lacked the tools required to effectively manage data from their IT systems, LogLogic said.

“Information is power, and big data if managed properly can provide a ton of insight to help deal with security, operational, and compliance issues,” said Mandeep Khera, chief marketing officer of LogLogic.

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