Editorial note: During April and May, OpenDNS CTO Dan Hubbard will share his thoughts on where security will see the most disruption in the near future in this five-part blog series.


“Big Data” is one of the hottest topics in technology today. The term is over used and too-broadly describes anything that represents large amounts of data. Loosely defined, I would say that in order for something to be termed “Big Data” is needs to match the minimum criteria:

* Size: The size or amount of data is too big to be stored and queried in a reasonable way with standard database management tools.
* Type: The format and type of data is not always consistent and has a high likelihood of changing over time.
* Velocity: The data is being created and growing at a rapid rate.

Here at OpenDNS where we focus on security and innovation, we’re just starting to hear about Big Data and how important it’s becoming in the context of security. I believe more important than simply the idea of Big Data and being able to query it through new tools and infrastructure, is the ability to turn Big Data into Big Information.

What’s the difference between Big Data and Big Information? Usability. Big Data might have some value. But Big Information is data that has value to someone. Another thing to note about Big Information, and one that elevates its importance, is that it will become increasingly critical to have systems that are designed for a future which is not known or understood today. We may not even know what problem we are attempting to solve today, but through Big Information may discover it tomorrow.

I see a disruption happening in security when companies start creating Big Information and delivering it in a timely manner. These companies have the potential to change the way we create security solutions. Ultimately Big Data needs to turn into Big Information, a change that will, in turn, give solutions, researchers and interested parties the knowledge to make security better.

You can read more about how I believe that Big Data fits into the future of research in my last blog here.

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