Ensuring data security: Common problems in Data Engineering and solutions

Tram Ho

In the ever-evolving digital world, data security is more essential than ever. Data Engineering is no exception. With an enormous amount of data being collected, stored, and processed every day, keeping it safe from security risks becomes an important task. Let’s learn some common security problems in Data Engineering and suggest effective solutions.

Common Security Issues in Data Engineering

1. Data loss

Data loss is a big problem in any system that manages data, including in the field of data engineering. Data loss can happen due to many reasons, including hardware problems, software errors, user error, or even security attacks. When data is lost, the consequences can be severe, from disrupting business operations to causing financial and image damage to the organization.

Here are some examples of data loss:

  • Hardware problems: This could be hard drive failure, improper server shutdown, or even an accident like a fire or explosion.
  • Software bugs: Errors in applications or operating systems can lead to data loss. Sometimes, this error can be caused by an incompatible or buggy software update.
  • User error: Sometimes, data loss can occur due to simple mistakes, like unintentional deletion or incorrect data entry.
  • Security attack: An attacker may seek to delete or corrupt data as part of an attack.

2. Unauthorized Access

Unauthorized access is a big problem in data security, especially in the field of data engineering. When someone has unauthorized access to the system, they can view, modify, delete, or even take away the data without permission. Unauthorized access can happen for a variety of reasons, including using weak passwords, bugs in the software, or through security attacks like phishing attacks or malware.

3. Executing Malware

Malware execution, also known as malware attacks, is one of the biggest security issues facing data engineers. Malware can be any malicious software, including viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, and more. Malware can be designed to do everything from stealing data, destroying data, to taking control of entire systems.

4. Data Non-Synchronization

Data desynchronization is one of the big problems in data engineering, especially when working with distributed systems and data is generated from many different sources.

Sometimes, different systems may update data at different times or by different processes. This can create inconsistencies, where one system assumes a transaction has been completed, while another does not receive an update. As a result, reports and data-driven analytics can be inaccurate, leading to a reduction in the quality and reliability of the analysis.

5. Data Vulnerability Exploitation

Exploiting data vulnerabilities is one of the common ways that attackers use to steal critical information or disrupt an organization’s operations. Vulnerabilities here can come from a variety of sources, from vulnerabilities in software or operating systems, to errors in data processing.

Here are some examples of data vulnerabilities:

  • Unencrypted data: If the data is not encrypted, anyone with physical or remote access to where the data is stored can read it. This is especially dangerous for sensitive information such as payment information or personal data.
  • Insecure data transfer: When data is transferred from one system to another, if the data transmission is unencrypted or insecure, attackers can “eavesdrop” and type data theft.
  • Bugs in software or operating system: Bugs in software or operating system can create vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit to access or modify data.

6. Comply with regulations on data security

Data security regulation is an important factor to consider when working with data engineering. These regulations set standards for how data is collected, stored, used and deleted, especially personal data. Complying with these regulations not only helps protect customer data, but also helps prevent significant legal consequences that can arise as a result of a breach.

Data privacy regulations can vary by country and industry, but here are some important examples:

  • European Union (EU) General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR): GDPR is a set of robust data privacy regulations that apply to all organizations in the EU, as well as any which organization processes the data of EU citizens. GDPR requires organizations to protect personal data and adhere to a set of principles for security and transparency. Violating the GDPR can result in hefty fines.
  • California Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CCPA): CCPA is a similar regulation in California, USA. CCPA gives consumers control over how the organization collects and uses their data.
  • Health Data Privacy Regulations HIPAA (USA): For medical organizations in the US, the health data privacy regulations (HIPAA) set standards for how medical data is handled.

How to solve the above problems

1. Backup and restore data

To solve the problem of data loss, there are some basic solutions that you can refer to as follows:

  • Backing up data: Creating periodic data backups is a basic but very effective method to prevent data loss. Backup data can be stored on a separate physical system or in the cloud. If the original data is lost or corrupted, data backup can be used to restore it.
  • Partitioning data: Dividing data between multiple drives or systems can help reduce the risk of data loss. If a piece of data is lost on one system, it may still exist on another.
  • Anti-tangle and data recovery: There are many tools and services available to help recover lost data, from automated data recovery tools to professional services. However, it should be noted that it is not always possible to recover lost data, and some forms of data loss, such as data overwriting, can make data unrecoverable.
  • Hardware and network security: Protecting hardware and networks from crashes and attacks is also an important part of data loss prevention. This may include the use of anti-virus software, network firewalls, and even physical security measures such as server locks.
  • User training: Finally, training users on how to safely and properly use the system can help prevent data loss due to user error. This may include educating users on how to store data, how to avoid malicious emails, and how to use the software safely and effectively.

As such, preventing data loss requires a comprehensive strategy that includes both technology and user education. However, with the right measures, the risk of data loss can be significantly reduced and your organization’s critical data protected.

2. Access Management and Authentication

Some ways to solve the problem of unauthorized access, you can refer to below:

  • Access management: This is about managing who has access to the system and data, and what they can do with it. Access management typically involves defining roles and permissions, and granting only the necessary access rights to each user or group. This helps to limit the possibility of unauthorized access.
  • User authentication and authorization: To prevent unauthorized access, user authentication and authorization is also important. Authentication is the confirmation of a user’s identity, usually through a password, an OTP, or both. Authorization is determining what a user can access once authenticated.
  • Network protection: Network protection is an important part of preventing unauthorized access. This may include the use of firewalls, anti-virus software, and other measures to protect the system from external threats.
  • User education: Finally, educating users about network safety and data security is also important. If users know how to recognize and avoid phishing attacks, use strong passwords, and follow other security guidelines, they will help reduce the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Use MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication): MFA requires users to verify their identity via two or more forms of authentication. This often includes a password combined with another form of authentication such as an OTP sent by phone, email, or even fingerprint or face authentication. MFA enhances security, because an attacker will need to pass multiple authentication layers to gain unauthorized access to the system.
  • Updating and maintaining the system: An old or not up-to-date system may contain security holes that facilitate unauthorized access. Therefore, periodic software and operating system updates, as well as system testing and maintenance are necessary.

For example, an accounting staff member should only have access to financial data, not to personnel data. Also, multi-factor authentication systems, such as password requests and SMS verification codes, can help prevent unauthorized access if a user’s password is stolen.

To sum up, unauthorized access is a serious problem facing data engineers. Preventing unauthorized access requires a combination of measures, from technology to user education. But with careful preparation, the risk of unauthorized access can be greatly reduced and your organization’s critical data protected.

3. Protection against malicious code

Some ways to solve the problem of malicious code execution are as follows:

  • Use anti-virus software: Anti-virus software is a basic but very effective tool for malware prevention. The software works by scanning the system for signs of malware, and if found, it tries to remove or isolate that malware.
  • System updates and patches: Vulnerabilities in the operating system or software can provide a way for malware to enter the system. Periodic system updates and patches can help prevent this.
  • Sandbox mode: Many systems prevent malware by running unknown applications in a “sandbox,” a secure area of ​​the system that doesn’t allow applications to come into direct contact with the rest of the system. .
  • User education: A large portion of malware attacks occur due to user error, like opening malicious email attachments or downloading and installing software from untrusted sources. Educating users on how to recognize and avoid malware is an important part of system protection.

To sum up, malicious code execution is a big problem in data security. But with careful preparation, including the use of technology and user education, this risk can be minimized.

  • Email security: Email is a common way to distribute malware. To prevent this, organizations can use tools and rules to scan and control incoming email, stopping malicious emails before they can cause harm.
  • Ransomware Prevention: Ransomware is a particularly dangerous type of malware that can encrypt your data and demand a ransom to decrypt it. The best way to protect against ransomware is through regular data backups and keeping backups safe, as well as using anti-virus software and other security tools to prevent ransomware from entering. system.
  • Restrict access: A large portion of malware attacks work by using user access that has been tricked into performing actions that the user does not want. Limiting users’ access, and providing only the minimum access necessary to do their job, can help prevent malware from abusing this access.

Malware execution is a big deal in data security, but through the right security measures, data engineers can protect their systems and data from this threat.

4. Data Non-Synchronization

The use of data management tools such as Apache Kafka, Apache Flink or Apache Beam and advanced ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) methods makes it possible to get data from multiple sources, transform (or “process”) data to ensure consistency, then upload the data to a central system or database.

Specifically, Apache Kafka, a distributed data processing system, can receive and store data from multiple sources, and then transform and transmit the data to consumer systems in real time. This helps to ensure that all systems have the same information, which reduces out-of-sync.

5. Data Vulnerability Exploitation

One of the most important methods to solve the problem of data vulnerability exploitation is the use of data encryption. Data encryption is the process of converting data into an unreadable form without the encryption key. By encrypting data, you can ensure that only people with the encryption key (usually authorized users) can read the data.

In addition, it is important to use secure connections when transferring data between systems. For example, you can use SSL/TLS encryption technology when transferring data between client and server to protect data from being stolen in transit.

Finally, periodic software and operating system updates help protect your system from known vulnerabilities. Software and operating system manufacturers often release updates to patch security holes they’ve discovered, so installing these updates is an important part of staying safe. data.

One of the other important factors for reducing the risk of data vulnerabilities is adopting an effective access management strategy. This means that it is necessary to ensure that only the right users, with the necessary permissions, can access the data. This can be done through the use of role-based access (RBAC) or similar access management models.

Finally, security training for employees is also important. Many security vulnerabilities stem from human error, like clicking malicious links in phishing emails or using weak passwords. Training employees on good security practices can help reduce these risks.

6. Comply with regulations on data security

Complying with data privacy regulations not only protects data, but also helps an organization avoid legal penalties. It often requires businesses to have a comprehensive strategy, including developing data security policies, implementing technology security solutions, training employees on data security, and even create mechanisms that allow users to control how their data is used.

  • Develop data security policies: First and foremost, organizations need to develop clear, detailed data security policies and comply with regulations. This policy should cover how data is collected, stored, accessed, used and deleted. It should also provide for who has access to the data and under what circumstances.
  • Implement technology security solutions: Technologies like encryption, access management, identity management, and network security can all help protect data from threats. Make sure these solutions are up to date and compliant with the latest security standards.
  • Train employees on data security: As mentioned above, human error is often one of the main causes of security breaches. Therefore, it is important to train employees in basic security principles and practices.
  • Create mechanisms that allow users to control their data: Finally, most data privacy regulations require organizations to give users some control over their data. This may include the right to access data, the right to modify or delete the data, the right against data processing, and much more. Organizations need to create processes and technology to support these rights.

Obviously, compliance with data privacy regulations requires an all-out effort on the part of organizations. However, doing this is not only a liability, but also an important way to build trust and loyalty from customers.


Data security is not only about protecting sensitive information from potential threats, but also plays an important role in maintaining customer trust and the reputation of the organization. Common security issues in Data Engineering can have serious consequences, but by applying the solutions mentioned, an organization can increase security and keep its data safe.

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Source : Viblo