Big data analytics is a concept that is being increasingly valued by many companies, encouraging a number of experts to consider it an important tool to use in the business world.
Indeed it is a concept that is being widely discussed by experts in firms across various different sectors, meaning that its popularity could be about to soar over the course of the next 12 months.
One of the main issues facing companies in this increasingly digital world, is how to keep sensitive information and data safe from the clutches of cyber criminals. A number of breaches at some of the world’s largest firms has pushed the issue into the spotlight, giving a number of IT departments cause for concern.
Big data analytics is playing an increasingly important role in helping companies fight back.
Bryan Hurd, director of advanced analytics at Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), told Computer Weekly: “Big data analysis is how big problems are diagnosed and solved.”
He added that cloud-scale crime required cloud-scale partnerships and systems, as cyber-criminals are “pickpocketing whole countries with almost no cost and getting away with it”.
“The thing about big data as a positive force in this equation is that often you cannot hide global-scale crime, no matter how hard you try, because it is so monumental. The volume and velocity of this data requires us to work together faster because criminals can change their tactics and move their operations amazingly rapidly,” he added.
One of the examples Hurd highlights is the ability to identify a stolen product activation key aggregator through detecting testing activity.
“Through analysis and visualisation of big data, we are now able to see spikes in activity that points to criminals testing large numbers of product keys they have stolen.”
Yet security is not the only reason for businesses to operate with big data, as there is also an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that it can be used to increase earnings and create jobs.
In fact, a recent survey by the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that companies making better use of big data could add £216 billion to the UK economy by 2017, while also creating around 58,000 jobs.
One of the most important parts of an effective approach to big data is a data management system. One of the most prominent examples is the use of loyalty card schemes used by retailers and supermarkets.
For instance Tesco, which has 16 million ClubCard users who willingly allow their shopping habits to be tracked by the supermarket, can then use the card to offer incentives and discounts according to a customer’s buying history, rewarding customer loyalty.
Yet according to Information Age, there are many businesses are being hindered by a lack of skills when it comes to using data in an effective manner. The Economist Intelligence Unit report claims that 47 per cent of UK organisations have cited lack of skills as their biggest barrier to unlocking the value of data faster, meaning that there is clearly some way to go for many firms.