Big data holds great potential for research and for society, large volumes of varied data can be produced and made available to researchers much faster compared to ‘traditional’ data. Whilst this potential is recognized, there are ethical concerns which users of big data must consider. With the volume and variety of information in big data, comes a greater risk of disclosure. Researchers and data access services working with highly detailed and sensitive, secure data have grappled with this for many years. The sector has developed both ethical frameworks and statistical disclosure control techniques which could be utilized by those working with big data. We discuss the challenges, present some of the frameworks and techniques and conclude with recommendations for secure data access of big data.