In our earlier articles we have discussed a lot about what is big data and several use cases around how it is changing the way various industries operate. Big data analytics is an exploding practice today as companies devote most of their budget and time to harness and understand the power of big data around them. However, businesses are not the only ones that are benefitted from big data analytics. Big data is making the world better, more connected and informed. Apart from the various positive business possibilities that can be leveraged with big data there are many challenges and security implications being created. This article elaborates on how big data is changing our lives and what are the challenges businesses are confronted with for leveraging effective data analytics.
Big data is transforming our lives by leaving a digital footprint on our daily activities. We are producing huge amount of big data ranging from our online purchases on e-commerce websites, our social interactions, financial activities, energy utilization, driving activities, online marketing campaigns and online petitions. All the data generated is recorded and stored for various purposes-
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2015 will witness various phases of big data changing lives to make world a better place by helping businesses make big decisions and solve real world problems.Big Data applications have probably made the most impact on the Healthcare sector - where the data is varied, complex and analysis is critical to providing better health facilities to the public.
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The rate at which we are generating data is frightening - leading to “ Datafication” of the world. Analysing unstructured data was impossible earlier, however with advancements in big data analytics –cognitive computing systems analyse and comprehend the content of unstructured data by reading e-books, reading tweets or watching videos. These systems can be related to human brains as they link bits of data to find real answers and not merely search results.
Big data analysis has become a common practice in politics. The US election results were predicted with Twitter sentiment analysis by analysing millions of tweets to predict the public opinion and trend. The popularity of a politician like Narendra Modi or Obama is measured and quantified based on the number of likes they have on their Facebook posts or depending on the number of twitter followers. Data scientists can now forecast the financial success of a movie and predict the box-office takings with accuracy by analysing the page view statistics of a movie’s wiki page, predict flu outbreaks based on the number of tweets that contain keywords related to flu, human mobility patterns can be analysed based on the phone call records. It is clearly evident from all these examples that big data is changing our lives by modelling human societies in an analytic computational framework.
The two words “ BIG DATA” are changing how you play, how you eat, how you see your doctor, how you watch TV and everything else from top to toe. By 2017, we will completely enter the world of personal big data analytics and the manner in which it will influence our lives will outperform the influence of the Internet.
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World Economic Forum describes the personal information garnered by big data as “the new ‘oil’, a valuable resource of the 21st century.”
Imagine a situation where users will not have to enter the passcode for using their ATM card. ATM would identify you just by analysing the encroachment of your steps and the way you walked when approaching the ATM machine. Despite the fact that it is a remarkable security application of big data, the implications this kind of big revolutions could lead to is loss of privacy – as companies follow wherever you go and find you out by the way you walk.
“Companies must straddle the tension of all the information available from smart things by balancing their desire to collect and analyse it with the risk of its loss or misuse” says Steve Prentice- Vice President of Gartner.
Big data is changing lives, however it also has great potential for exposure in unimaginable ways which can result in big data security breaches. Big data security and data loss prevention are important issues to be addressed with companies exploiting big data. Businesses are now adopting novel strategies of collecting data by employing advanced security technologies like intrusion detection systems, anti-viruses, and firewalls. Companies have to be more pre-emptive in hovering data across different networks by making use of personalized security tools.
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After the high-profile hacks that exposed the personal data of millions of customers at big retail corporations like Sony, Home Depot and Target- big data is being revolutionised in a manner to prevent any next “BIG” big data security breach in the coming years. Companies are realising just how expensive big data security breach can be. It not only soils their reputation but also results in unimaginable data loss which ultimately affects the profits of the company.
Here’s how companies protect their big data and ensure that their user information does not wind up in wrong hands-
When a user signs into an online banking application or types the password into a favourite e-Commerce website, the user expects considerable security for his data. The data points that drive the marketing automation systems of a retailer or any other financial, trading, or healthcare applications are not as sensitive as the bank account passwords, credit card details or bank account numbers. Companies are ensuring that any information that is sensitive to protect the interests of their consumers is more securely encrypted.
Most of the companies nowadays, provide their website visitors with various selection options which helps the customers decide the amount of data they want to and are comfortable sharing with for leveraging big data analysis. This novel strategy adopted by companies for collecting big data will give the users an option to opt in and opt out options helping them decide what data they want to share.
The most potential threat to the data security is not a steadfast hacking attempt rather it is providing an opportunity of crime to hackers. It could either be a lost laptop without any password protection or a mobile phone with access to secure files or a PC on an unsecured network. Any of these circumstances can lead to wrong people accessing sensitive information paving way for an opportunity of crime. Companies are using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for collecting user data as customers entrust companies who are equipped with proper security measures.
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The marketing automation systems of various companies collect huge amounts of big data to build a better image of each customer and aggregate it to leverage it for big picture big data analytics. Companies are making attempts to collect anonymous information about users to prevent any personal potential threats to the data of users by tracking browser cookies without attaching them to a name –to identify from which location maximum number of their customers come from based on the IP addresses, how they interact with the website, how they found the company’s website. This anonymous data collected will not create any kind of data trails a hacker can use to target the customers helping companies learn about their customer base by leveraging big data analytics without any risk.
The frequently occurring high profile big data security breaches are enough to make cautious clients nervous about sharing their data. Companies have to reassure their customers with smart and secure data collection process, transparent privacy policies and embed novel security software’s while collecting anonymous information.
With the best practices for securing personal big data of customers in mind, enterprise that integrate the above security principles into their development and use big data will be the ones to flourish in the big data landscape with least amount of consumer pushback and strongest outcomes.
The best practices for working with big data securely are still emerging. 2015 will learn lessons with big data that will help enterprises move ahead with the promise of innovating novel products and services without compromising on the privacy of the personal data of consumers.