Big data, ethics, and their challenges
Here’s a pretty mind-blowing stat: by 2025, according to IDC, the worldwide collection of data will grow 61% to a total of 175 zettabytes. One of the issues that arises from this massive upward trend, already underway, is the growing relevance of ethical handling of the data. Approximately 55% of executives surveyed by NewVantage Partners call it a top business priority. As more personal data is shared during these times of pandemic, this percentage is likely to increase further.
What this could mean for cybersecurity is interesting. One seemingly common opinion I’ve noticed is that IT teams will have to substantially shift their mindsets to accommodate new ethical guidelines and practices. But is that truly the case? What is cybersecurity already if not being responsible for protecting data? The mission itself is one of ethical consideration.
To be sure, there can be conflict between security and ethics in certain circumstances. For example, scanning or storing all data to ensure minimal risk, abnormal content or behavior—in such cases, privacy advocates could argue data protection policies are overzealous and infringe on people’s privacy.
Says Jason Albuquerque, CIO and CISO of Carousel Industries, however: “Cybersecurity and data ethics are intertwined and are dependent on each other.” Keeping this relationship in mind, it’s clear how cooperation between the two areas can benefit any organization. When a data breach does occur, reducing the damage to customers’ data and the business (and subsequent legal liability in the face of mounting international regulations) can prevent significant financial and reputational losses. People care more about their personal information these days, and this is reflected in the regulations. If they think an organization’s handled it irresponsibly, they’re more likely to seek recompense via increasing protections. Or they might simply take their business elsewhere. Collaboration and mindfulness of data ethics come into play here, their role being to manage these risks.
Organizations everywhere will be facing increased rights requests from people now aware of those rights; 20% of IT teams are seeing more than 100 a week, states Truyo. Cyber criminals will exploit this surge to make fraudulent requests in order to steal data at a higher rate. This means it will become even more complicated to keep personal data out of hacker hands while striving to comply with regulations like GDPR and CCPA. To meet these challenges, James Chappell, co-founder and chief innovation officer at Digital Shadows, recommends that “Chief Data Officers to engage with existing teams or build out companywide security and privacy governance capabilities as part of their role,” as the best way to manage the risks and protect the organization during these evolving times. A world handling zettabytes of data will need it.