We are really excited about our partnership with Vormetric and welcome the below guest blog post by Michael Rothschild from Vormetric. 

 

I remember in the heady days of the dot.com boom where people were just migrating off their 56.6K modems onto DSL. Everything was so new that few people even considered that crime could take place through a wire or how anything virtual could ever pose a “real world” threat. It didn’t take long though. Suddenly, we began to see webpage defacement when rogue hackers took over a site. They used various means including DNS poisoning, leveraging open ports and in many cases taking advantage of an unknown vulnerability or default setting. Few knew or perhaps cared; a successful hack was more of an inconvenience than anything. A proverbial blip on the radar.

 

Fast forward to today, and times have changed!  Businesses rely on IT as a core pillar supporting their business. Once more, the damage from an attack is significantly more impactful that a simple defaced page. Not a day goes by without a news story about a large company, government institution or organization being hacked. The motivation for hacking is simple, it is about stealing sensitive information and using it to make money. The results, as we have seen, are simply frightening.

 

There has been a tipping point in the world of security. The tipping point we have reached today is the “consumerization” of cyber-crime. You can easily walk into the corner barbershop and the discussion may be about the breach in the paper that morning, the identity theft due to stolen credentials, or the types of security being deployed on your credit card (chip & pin). What seemed like science fiction at the turn of the century, has become reality in the blink of an eye. Moreover, security (or lack thereof) has moved from the techie realm into real life consequences for both the organization as well as the individual.

 

This tipping point did not happen by chance. As organizations and as individuals, we quite literally put everything online – enter the Big Data era. Facebook, online billpay, stock trading, placing orders for goods, package tracking, filing taxes, writing wills, setting our thermostats, car diagnostics; EVERYTHING is online. Companies have gained huge insights in aggregating this information and leverage it to better run their business, service their stakeholders, and gain new efficiencies leading to improved profits and ROI. At the same time, this information is also the crown jewels for the criminal to gain access to data and use it for illegal means. Perhaps the scariest of all are the attacks being perpetrated by nations escalating the security discussion from consumers to full blown cyber wars. It makes the 1983 MGM movie titled War Games look more real than we may care to admit.

 

The shift in the state of cybercrime has forced us collectively to rethink the way we secure our most important asset – our data. For individuals, this may be their personal identities and credentials; for organizations it may be their intellectual property and customer data. While it is important to maintain physical control of this information, it is also important to realize that at some point chances are that we will be breached – and someone will gain access to our data. But our acceptance of this inevitability does not translate into defeat. Rather it involves a change in how we approach security.

 

Many organizations are turning to new ways of solving the Big Data – Security conundrum. Solutions such as Couchbase offer a powerful NoSQL Big Data platform with Vormetric ensuring that the high performing applications are also highly secure and fully compliant with regulatory statutes. Couchbase offers several different security controls at the database level to protect your sensitive data such as SSL connections, LDAP based authentication for administrators, and auditing. In addition to the security controls inside Couchbase, to keep your stack secure, you need security controls at the system, application, operating system and network level. At the system level, vormetric blocks as well as audit accesses to Couchbase by non-Couchbase machine administrators. With vormetric, at the application level, you can also obscure pieces of information through data masking and tokenization, so that only internal users have access to data, getting only the information they need; such as only the last four digits of your social security number. At the operating System level, encryption renders confidential information useless by turning the information into “gibberish”.  In the event that a criminal defeats all existing deployed security such as firewalls, IPS, VPN etc., the information they are after is useless.

 

Big Data provides volumes of unique and highly sought after data both for the organization and for the criminal. Employing encryption with granular access control technology provides both organizations and individuals the peace of mind needed to remain secure in this highly unsecure world.

 

Now you can go back to talking about the baseball scores with your barber rather than the latest breach.

Posted by Don Pinto

Don Pinto is a Principal Product Manager at Couchbase and is currently focused on advancing the capabilities of Couchbase Server. He is extremely passionate about data technology, and in the past has authored several articles on Couchbase Server including technical blogs and white papers. Prior to joining Couchbase, Don spent several years at IBM where he maintained the role of software developer in the DB2 information management group and most recently as a program manager on the SQL Server team at Microsoft. Don holds a master's degree in computer science and a bachelor's in computer engineering from the University of Toronto, Canada.

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