[caption id="attachment_1111" align="aligncenter" width="569" caption="IT pros told Varonis that Big Data will become a strategic priority for their companies - even though some had trouble defining 'Big Data' at all."] [/caption] Two-thirds of IT pros believe that Big Data should be a strategic priority for their organizations, according to a new study from Varonis, a company that develops tools for protecting and managing both structured and unstructured technology. Varonis drew its data for the study from 180 respondents to a survey delivered at Infosecurity Europe 2012. “The results of our survey show that while most IT security folks felt that their awareness and visibility of big data products on the market was low, big data was more than hype,” the study suggested. “One third of those responded that it was already a strategic initiative in their organization, and most say it will be a strategic initiative within the next five years.” Around 38 percent of those respondents were from businesses with less than 500 employees, while the rest were spread “fairly evenly” between medium to large businesses. A significant majority were involved in IT security (which seems logical, given that the survey took place at Infosecurity Europe), with the rest a mix of IT project management, operations, storage, email management, and sales. Some 59 percent that Big Data lacked a clear definition, and around 73 percent rated their awareness of current Big Data products as a 5 or lower on a scale of 1 to 10. Nonetheless, 69 percent felt that Big Data should become a “key strategic priority” for IT, versus 23 percent “not sure” and 8 percent “no.” Those who felt they could clearly define Big Data—at least in their own minds—were much more positive about its necessity and impact on IT than those who lacked such clarity. Nonetheless, the overwhelming consensus seemed to be that Big Data can and will play an increasingly larger role within organizations over the next five years or so. “With the explosion of data and the demand for rapid, ubiquitous digital collaboration, IT knows traditional data management methods can no longer keep pace, so they are looking for advanced solutions to protect their data,” David Gibson, vice president of strategy for Varonis, wrote in a May 22 statement issued along with the study. “The key for IT with Big Data is to get past all the hype and to learn more about the practical benefits” such as flagging malicious activity. The definition of Big Data is indeed nebulous, with a number of analysts and pundits attempting to herd that particular herd of cats in different ways. In a May 17 blog posting, for example, Forrester analyst Mike Gualtieri suggested that Big Data is a relative thing. “There is no specific volume, velocity or variety of data that constitutes big,” he wrote. “It all comes down to how well you handle these three Big Data activities.” Image: Varonis