Securing Big Data is complex, and few enterprises are doing it correctly. That was the central message of a recent chat with Brian Christian, CTO of Zettaset, which sells a Hadoop orchestration platform. But Christian offered more than criticism of Big Data security practices. He also explained how his company aims to address the issues, and why security for the open source Hadoop cluster infrastructure could become a new driving force in the channel.

Security is only part of the value-added proposition of Zettaset, a startup that currently counts about 45 employees. The company's product, called Zettaset Orchestrator, also provides ease-of-use features, performance enhancements and increased availability for Hadoop, the distributed computing system for Big Data.

But Big Data security, according to Christian, is one of Zettaset's core focuses, as well as an area ripe for rapid expansion for the channel as a whole. That's because traditional tools for securing data are not well suited to cluster computing, which defines the Hadoop approach to managing Big Data. “We've had to pioneer and trailblaze this new path called distributed security,” Christian said.

Among the major distributed-security challenges that Zettaset seeks to solve in an integrated platform through Orchestrator is role-based access control that works well across a Hadoop cluster with dozens, hundreds or thousands of hosts, according to Christian. Providing a high-availability security infrastructure without a single point of failure is also a vital component, he said.

Christian sees a lot of room for continued growth for value-added security technology for Hadoop. And he thinks the task will fall to companies within the channel to provide it, since few independent open source developers are currently showing interest in making Hadoop more secure.

So far, he's right. Just as security was an afterthought when cloud computing exploded a few years ago, so are few organizations prioritizing Hadoop-ready security solutions when they deploy Big Data infrastructure. There's a lot of reason to expect security for Big Data to become an important new focus within the channel as enterprises bring their deployments up to speed.