Technological innovation is often what inspires people to pursue a career in business analytics. That’s understandable. It’s a constantly evolving, fascinating field with the potential to revolutionize how organizations are run. But there’s another side to business analytics that may not seem as exiting on the surface, but is just as important, if not more. That’s data security.
We often hear about data security when public debate centers around consumer concerns regarding the use of their private data. High-profile hacks of retail giant Target or the credit rating agency Experian heightened fears.
But for many who work in business analytics, security issues focus on the safety of internal organizational information.
For those interested in a master’s degree in business analytics, data security issues will likely become a large part of the jobs they perform. That’s why it’s important that business analysts understand the importance of data safety and security today.
Collecting and storing vast amounts of data presents a security challenge. In business, there are unique risks. Data that a business analyst has collected, studied, and presented in the form of a recommendation for business strategy is gold for a hacker. By stealing this type of information, the hacker cuts out all the demanding work done through business analytics and goes straight to actionable information. Information businesses don’t want hackers to get their hands on.
That’s dangerous for companies in a highly competitive global market. And the risk is magnified when organizations work with outside vendors (for cloud services, for example) or grant access to sensitive information to a large number of employees.
Employers will be looking for business analysts who understand and help implement these best practices for managing data security.
Encryption is used when dealing with external resources, but in some cases insightful data within an organization is transferred from one person to another without first being encrypted. Is this a sure-fire way to prevent hackings? No, but it does make cyber theft more difficult. Advanced software now allows for encryption of enormous amounts of data.
With many organizations moving their data into the cloud, it’s important that every choice for this service is vetted thoroughly. There are inherent issues with security when using the cloud. Cloud service providers must be able to describe in great detail their security standards and measures. Business analytics experts can play a role in knowing what questions to ask.
Building trust among employees is important, but it’s wise to also have strict rules about who can access information and where they can do it. Employees should only have access to data if it serves a function of their job. Additionally, anyone with access must adhere to guidelines on basic issues such as updating passwords and not sharing information with others.
Business analytics can be used to run analysis on security itself. Data from the system can shed light on vulnerable security areas and help strengthen regulations around employee use of business analytics tools.
With employers focusing on these areas in an effort to optimize their data security efforts, people who want to work at the highest levels in business analytics should develop the expertise that the security sector needs in all of these areas.