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May 15, 2017

Making Big Data Secure - Is Your Favorite Latte Worth It?

Featuring Michael Napolitano

As seen in NJBIZ

Authored by Michael Napolitano and Adam O'Feeney 

We live in a world increasingly driven by data.  How your organization manages its data strategy and approach will make a critical difference in your ability to compete – not only today, but far into the future. ’Big data’ is changing the way people work together. Introducing more proactive analytics means companies are taking more of your information than ever before.  But, is this safe, and is it legal?  

Here’s Your Latte

As a consumer, the idea of your information being shared and saved by a company can be a little unsettling for a number of reasons, but it is a necessary evil in order to allow these companies to optimize the data they take in to better serve you.  Whether you like it or not, any time you use your debit card to buy a coffee, download a song online, or pump your gas, somebody out in cyberspace is using your information in real-time.  On the other hand, companies using this information to tailor their marketing and selling approach to you specifically can be very helpful to you as the consumer. A few years from now, you might be able to walk into a coffee shop at the same time each day and have your latte with four sugars, skim milk, and a splash of vanilla waiting for you.

With all that information floating around out there, security becomes another hot-button issue with consumers.  More than $1.2 million is spent online every 30 seconds, and with that comes a vital need for security. Companies want the continued business from today’s consumers and want to have the ability to share and store information.  However, the first time a person gets their information stolen or hacked is often the last time they use that online vendor.  Using an administration panel that is inaccessible (or as close to that as possible) to attackers is more important to consumers than the storage of their address and credit card number.   

It’s Not Me, It’s You

When it comes to balancing storage and security, the idea of “smart storage” is key.  An organization cannot simply retain everything; it is inefficient and, as it turns out, illegal. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) actually now forbids companies from storing such credit card information; although they are far from being fully compliant on that issue.

Organizations need to understand their strategy when retaining certain pieces of consumer information. How will the information be utilized and what is the objective in using such information? Are they trying to expedite your checkout process next time you buy something (storing your address and phone number), or are they actually trying to learn more about you as the consumer?  Storing information can certainly help organizations learn your spending habits, favorite stores, and save you time at checkout, but it has to be maintained responsibly, so as to not jeopardize your security.

Head in the Clouds

To help cope with the continued reliance on technology and the security of your data, businesses are now combining different technologies to work harmoniously with one another.  Companies are using private clouds to manage the data warehouse environments, and are pairing said clouds with data-troving software to extract only the information that is useful to them – in a safe way.  Companies are trying to get up and running quickly to begin storing the information in a way that will help them plan for future trends.

Sift. Sort. Repeat.

Clearly, implementing a big data analysis system is not just for storing and using information.  It comes down to the best way for an automated system to take in information securely, process it in real-time, and help an organization use that information as quickly and effectively as possible. Whether you are implementing the big data structure to house and maintain current customer information, obtain new customers based on trends and information, or just simply want to stay ahead of the technology wave, experts believe big data implementation comes down to the “4V Classification Model.”  The information is coming in lightning-fast, and the organization that has a system in place to deal with the volume, variety, velocity, and veracity of the data is the one that can sift and sort in order to succeed.