Big data is a hot tech term that was coined to represent the unprecedented exponential growth of data, structured and unstructured. Big data is often put in the context of the "5 Vs," which are volume, velocity, variety, variability and, most importantly, value.

There are about 350 million people in the U.S. and the price of a stolen individual identity on the black market is currently estimated at averaging $40. That means the personal data of American citizens alone has a value of $14 billion. No wonder that in a recent discussions, 66 percent of individuals indicated that they occasionally or frequently worry about identity theft. .


$250 billion: The amount that the United States loses annually to a broad spectrum of intellectual property crimes (data theft). That equates to an estimated loss of 750,000 jobs nationally each and every year as well.

Multiple industry analysts have forecast a coming period of rapid data growth and one quantified it by saying they expect data to double every two years. That would equate to the data to reach 40 zettabytes by 2020. A zettabyte is 1.0 × 1015 megabytes, or, as I put it one huge amount of zeros! To analyze all this data, we need a place to store the data, processing power (computers) to sift through it and data scientists and analysts to extract the meaning and value from all that data. McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) recently forecasted a 50- to 60-percent supply shortfall when it comes to people with deep analytical talent commonly referred to as data geeks. That study went on to quantify the shortfall. They estimate there will be 140,000 to 190,000 unfilled positions in this field within the U.S. by 2018. Think about that talent shortage and the impact it will have on the intelligence community!

Now consider the current trend in data theft that goes back to 2010 and continues to increase each and every year. New data-stealing malware and schemes appear daily, while insiders steal their employer's data frequently and don't think twice about it. In one incident an individual resigned to take another job with a competitor and took the customer contact list with him to his new employer.

That data is of value and the action clearly constituted data theft. That is an all too frequent occurrence now days and here is the evidence. Security industry icon Symantec released a survey revealing that half of employees that recently left their jobs retained confidential information from their former employers. The most frequent technique used to get this data out was email. One metric suggests that over 40 percent of those surveyed sent these emails weekly!

New opportunities are being created daily due to the increased production of data. When you consider the continued growth of social media, the introduction of the Internet of things, wearable technology, and new vehicles (cars) as a computing platform all of a sudden 'Big Data' becomes huge data in the not so distant future. The generation, collection and analysis of all this data will undoubtedly have an influence on the way we live and work. Given that impact, measures must be taken now to increase protection of the data and generate the highly skilled data workers needed in the data intensive economy that is about to accelerate. When you look at the issue this way one thing becomes crystal clear; organizations in defense, business, government and industry must create a strategy to address the numerous issues that are being created by huge data.