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Despite the growing success of cloud computing and big data service, they are relatively new factors in the enterprise technology market and thus come with their share of unfolding concerns. For businesses, security and privacy-protection concerns could be as big as return on investments and other cost-related factors.

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), a nonprofit partnership of about 100 major tech companies (including Google, Adobe, AT&T, and Fujitsu) appears to be the most active organization working to address these concerns. CSA's latest cloud focus comes with the launching of its Big Data Working Group (BDWG), led by communications and IT specialist firm Fujitsu Laboratories of America.

BDWG was launched by CSA to research the best practices for security and privacy in big data solutions. Many midsize firms avoid the promising big data arena primarily because of perceived expense and risks. BDWG addresses these concerns by pointing out loopholes in these services for vendors and the best practices for customers, the hope is that many such firms concerned over the risks involved in employing cloud and big data solutions will have some of these concerns alleviated.

According to eWeek, the first research report of BDWG is expected to be released later this year and the organization will identify new and fundamental technical and organizational problems that make cloud and big data service risky, on grounds of privacy and security. After identifying the issues, BDWG is expected to establish specific actionable information for customers and vendors to act upon, which in theory is how it will address these concerns.

CSA Creating the Future for Safer Cloud and Big Data

Big Data concerns are big, not only for vendors and enterprises, but also for government agencies and different industry verticals using the service to solve many real-life problems, including the ones dealing with health-care, and environmental changes to name a few. Research and investigation from nonprofit and government agencies to help mitigate big data concerns should produce more transparent results because these organizations are not just working to improve their market share.

From a business point of view, small and midsize businesses are well positioned to reap the benefits of larger firms working together on these cloud and big data issues. Many midsize businesses are particularly in a dilemma when it comes to cloud and big data usage. Many are big enough that they cannot avoid using cloud or big data solutions, while on the other hand, many are usually too small to effectively manage some of the problems that arise with the use of cloud and big data solutions.

The Cloud Security Alliance is creating an opportunity for industry standards on cloud and big data services so that even small and midsize businesses can have access to the same security levels that larger enterprises might employ privately. Depending on the success of the newly formed BDWG in dealing with the security issues related to big data, midsize firms that have yet to embrace the big data culture will be more comfortable in adopting it.

However, for IT managers at midsize firms that have already employed these services, the launching of BDWG indicates that their cloud and big data might not be entirely secure despite the claims of their third-party vendors. And this should prompt IT managers to make concerted efforts to independently maintainsecurity of cloud and big data services they use.

Cloud and big data services are more than likely here to stay despite big challenges. The good news is that vendors and customers are continuing to keep a focus on security, which will only serve to improve the safety of such services as time goes by.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us onFacebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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