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Cloudera Has the Right Idea on Big Data Security

Partners matter more than you might think

I'd like to address a recent blog post in CloudTweaks titled, "Cloudera Not Cutting It With Big Data Security." The author makes a number of very salient and valid points about Hadoop security… or lack thereof.

Indeed the Apache Hadoop platform, which includes HDFS and MapReduce and other projects like HBase, Mahout and Hive, was not designed for security. The Hadoop name, for better or worse, is nearly synonymous with big data because it delivers the "three V's" (velocity, variety, volume) at massive scale, enabling organizations to crunch, process, analyze and retain data like never before.

Clearly there are security and compliance implications to big data. Consider the following:

  • How sensitive is the data being analyzed? Is there a regulatory requirement to secure the data?
  • Who has access to my data?
  • How can I secure data at rest?
  • Can I run Hadoop in the cloud? If so, in what zone/country will my data reside?
  • Is it even possible to have a HIPAA-compliant Hadoop cluster?

The blog suggests that Cloudera, and I presume other commercial Hadoop vendors, should do more to address the security concerns in Hadoop.

I believe Cloudera absolutely has the right approach to security.

Cloudera has some of the brightest Hadoop and Apache minds in the world. They're experts in enterprise-class systems management. That's what they do. Addressing the big data needs of customers should always remain the company's primary focus.

Cloudera has also cultivated one of the most comprehensive partner ecosystems in the big data market. This is important because it enables Cloudera to focus on its core strengths, while leveraging outside expertise in analytics, BI, cloud computing, and of course, security.

Think about it this way: Would you expect the same company that built your house to install the alarm, mow your lawn and provide Internet service?

Certainly not, so why then would you demand security from a company that specializes in Hadoop?

The right approach is to look for a company with expertise and experience in securing Hadoop platforms.

There's a false narrative that traditional relational databases inherently offer cutting-edge security, but the truth is, security was (and remains) a responsibility of the end user. Encryption, authentication, policy enforcement and other security tools, are all available for CDH and Hadoop, even if they're not provided directly by Cloudera. A customer can work with Cloudera to locate the right vendor for their particular challenge and work collaboratively to build an integrated, secure Hadoop platform.

Data security - particularly Big data security - is quickly becoming a hot topic, as Hadoop-related projects migrate from pilot to production environments. We believe it's incumbent upon big data providers to develop an ecosystem of tightly integrated vendors to complete their security offerings. Cloudera has certainly done that.

More Stories By David Tishgart

David Tishgart is a Director of Product Marketing at Cloudera, focused on the company's cloud products, strategy, and partnerships. Prior to joining Cloudera, he ran business development and marketing at Gazzang, an enterprise security software company that was eventually acquired by Cloudera. He brings nearly two decades of experience in enterprise software, hardware, and services marketing to Cloudera. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

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