EMC World 2012: EMC talks up cloud, security and big data

He then cited the portability of virtual applications as a potential security weak spot for many companies.

"The infrastructure is virtual. You can put a bunch of security policies on that infrastructure and that might be great for the next day, week or month, but that application can move and then what happens? Virtual infrastructures break traditional security," he said.

We need to get ready for the big data wave that's coming in the future.

Therefore, companies will need to adopt advanced threat security systems that constantly monitor activity within these infrastructures to detect abnormalities.

"This really is a huge big data problem. There are organisations that collect up to 60 terabytes of data purely around the information flow within their systems," said Burton.

"So, as you can imagine, you can get up to petabytes [of data] on the security systems very quickly, but this is the only way you're going to be able to detect these slow and low attacks that take place over days, weeks and months."

At the moment, though, end user interest in the concept and management of big data is roughly the same as it was in cloud "two-to-three" years ago, claimed Burton.

"It will take a few years to take hold. So, we need to get ready for the big data wave that's coming in the future," he added.

Meanwhile, in a separate keynote, Joe Tucci, EMC's chief executive, cited cloud and big data as one of the reasons why he announced in January that he was postponing his retirement until 2013.

"If I didn't believe in [cloud, big data and security], I would have stuck with my original plan and retired. I think it's the right strategy," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.