Breaching intellectual capital: critical reflections on Big Data security

Matteo La Torre*, John Dumay, Michele Antonio Rea

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Reflecting on Big Data’s assumed benefits, this study aims to identify the risks and challenges of data security underpinning Big Data’s socio-economic value and intellectual capital (IC).

Design/methodology/approach: The study reviews academic literature, professional documents and public information to provide insights, critique and projections for IC and Big Data research and practice.

Findings: The “voracity” for data represents a further “V” of Big Data, which results in a continuous hunt for data beyond legal and ethical boundaries. Cybercrimes, data security breaches and privacy violations reflect voracity and represent the dark side of the Big Data ecosystem. Losing the confidentiality, integrity or availability of data because of a data security breach poses threat to IC and value creation. Thus, cyberthreats compromise the social value of Big Data, impacting on stakeholders’ and society’s interests.

Research limitations/implications: Because of the interpretative nature of this study, other researchers may not draw the same conclusions from the evidence provided. It leaves some open questions for a wide research agenda about the societal, ethical and managerial implications of Big Data.

Originality/value: This paper introduces the risks of data security and the challenges of Big Data to stimulate new research paths for IC and accounting research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-482
Number of pages20
JournalMeditari Accountancy Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2018


  • Big Data
  • Cyberthreats
  • Data breach
  • Data security
  • Intellectual capital
  • Privacy


Dive into the research topics of 'Breaching intellectual capital: critical reflections on Big Data security'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this