The rapid deployment of modern technologies such as iPhone, laptops, digital watch, social network, internet are resulted in handling of enormous amount of data in our day-to-day life. Since the data storage is increased abundantly and techniques to retrieve the relevant information and protection of data related issues to be focused efficiently to protect this big data. However various organisations and IT industries dealing with big data are faced with many security risks in storage and processing of data. Hence the protecting the big data is challenging task for the researchers. MapReduce is an efficient tool for processing large volume of data in a distributed environment. Security and secrecy of data are vital concerns while processing data carried out in MapReduce. In this article, the proposed secure data processing on big data using visual cryptography (SDPBDVC) technique ensures the protection of sensitive information by applying the visual cryptography technique and the processing done only by authorised entities. © 2020 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.