Addressing the Security Aspect of Business Intelligence

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Business intelligence is an invaluable tool for marketers, who use it to create right strategies and choose the most effective route for their realization. Successful companies use it to adapt to ever-shifting realities and adjust their product offerings to a specific customer pool. However, apart from all the benefits, BI also poses a big security risks. Unless handled by trained professionals, a business intelligence tool can become a dangerous liability that can do more harm than good.

Risks involved

Unlike data warehousing, which revolves around hoarding massive amounts of data, business intelligence deals with means of integrating relevant data into the business system. The aim is to enable companies to make informed, strategic business moves and allocate their resources more efficiently. Still, a question arises how to create an efficient system in which business data will be safe from theft and misuse.

Centralized architecture

For practical reasons, many BI solutions have centralized architecture. Unfortunately, that means that large amounts of data are stored in one place, where they present an easy target of cyber thieves and hackers. They can steal data, or alter it to fit their purposes. On the other hand, there are security threats that arise from an internal business structure.

Double-edged sword

To make matters worse, some latest trends have raised the stakes. The enormous popularity of mobile devices combined with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies that are intended to boost productivity has created a high-risk environment. New generations of employees like to have instant mobile access to all business information at their fingertips. This prospect can seriously compromise the safety of the whole corporate network.

Internal policies

As a result, businesses have no other option than to integrate comprehensive security policies for BI systems. Their outline needs to include all the essential areas of data storage, user-role classification, data transmission and classification. Different industries also develop their own regulatory compliance directives.

Professional aid

Companies that want their data protected should start with selecting reliable business intelligence software that suits their needs. There are many quality tools on the market today, and the right choice is important. Among other considerations, the efficiency of a BI tool is determined by ease of use and the number of features. The other parameters that influence the choice are its security levels as well as the supplier’s security credentials.

Improved access control

Many businesses resort to access control in order to protect sensitive data. In short, the access is only granted to the users on as-needed basis. This concept reduces the time needed and minimizes the risk of forged analysis results. The access controls can be located the data warehouse or at the presentation and reporting level. The second method is simpler, but it increases the chances for human error.

 

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Data de-identification

What is more, many prominent business organizations have turned to data de-identification in order to prevent data leaks. In a nutshell, it is an irreversible process of stripping the data of all personal information, like names, phone numbers, addresses, etc. Credit card companies even use a more radical variation called tokenization. In this technique, the sensitive data is replaced by tokens that lead to data stored in other external databases

Business intelligence is essential for responsible decision-making on all levels that can be applied in many different industries. Stories about data leaks and cyber thefts are making headlines, prompting companies to re-evaluate their security policies. They need to identify vulnerable spots and find the best ways to secure them. The ultimate aim is to create a working environment that would be safe but also efficient. This is a challenging task, but risks involved justify the effort.

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