Big Data is Making Big Waves in the Digital World
The definition of big data isn’t a difficult one to infer: It’s large sets of data that can be analyzed for trends, patterns, and pitfalls to help companies make better decisions for their customers. It’s a hugely valuable resource, but it requires infrastructure outside of your traditional server center. The sheer volume, often measuring in at over one million gigabytes, is too much for everyday systems to handle.
So, where are businesses getting all of this information?
Take a look at all the devices you have logged into Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, and the like. Between your tablet, home laptop, work laptop, and cellphone, you are constantly sending massive amounts of information to these companies. Now, multiply that by the billions of people who use these services everyday, and you can see why businesses want to make this huge influx of information into a useful tool.
But entertainment and social media aren’t the only ones looking to commodify our data. Every industry, from law enforcement to health care, use big data to make predictions about the people they serve. It allows medicine to advance as we discover the connections between certain traits and congenital diseases. It helps police departments see trends that can tell them how time of day, time of year, and even the weather influences crime rates.
Big data is turning into big business.
The 7 Vs of Big Data
Traditionally, there are only three “Vs”: volume, velocity, and variety. Increasingly, though, veracity, value, visualization, and variability are being taken into account.
Let’s take a quick look at what these Vs mean when we’re talking about this topic:
When it comes to this much data, we’re talking about a massive amount of information. Currently, there are over 2.7 Zettabytes of data in the digital world. That number is hard to even imagine, but it equals about one trillion gigabytes. Knowing what to do with the volume of data available is a challenge, but companies with the resources to do so are making good use of it.
Data comes in at an alarming rate. Between the 3.8 million searches done on Google every minute, 205 billion emails sent a day, and the countless number of minutes we spend on our phones, computers, and smart TVs, companies are left looking for ways to process and analyze the information coming in at an unfathomable velocity.
Typically, big volumes of data are organized into two different forms: structured and unstructured. Structured data is mostly numbers, though items like names and email addresses could also be included. Unstructured data is everything else, from videos to documents to social media interactions. Big data includes both types.
Veracity refers to how well we can trust the data that we are receiving. If the data is inaccurate, then attempts to analyze it to find trends is useless. Ensuring that information is correct and organized helps companies use big data wisely.
Industries are interested because of the value large volumes of data bring to the table. Combining massive amounts of data with a machine’s ability to find patterns means that companies who invest in the infrastructure and analytics are likely to make their money back and then some through cost-savings, marketing structures that fit their demographics, and other data use opportunities.
This one’s simple enough: Because of the volume, there must be an easy way to view it. Obviously, no one is looking through the trillions of gigabytes of information and manually mapping out trends. Instead, companies have to rely on charts, graphs, and tables to develop valuable insight into their clients.
Harkening back to the variety concept, businesses and analysts must also account for the amount of differentiation between even two documents of the same type. For example, a word document created by two employees that say the exact same thing are still a goldmine of information, with everything from words per minute to error logs. While this information might seem useless, it’s valuable for predicting man hours needed, efficiency variables, and better differentiation according to skill.
While the value of large numbers of data is obvious, but so is the temptations for hackers. Between increases in data breaches and the constant threat of malware, phishing, and wifi transgressions, companies may be wary to begin the process of storing and analyzing such sensitive information. Additionally, undertaking such a huge change in infrastructure and cybersecurity systems can be overwhelming.
Is the value worth the work?
We believe it is. As long as you’re willing to work to keep your systems safe, well-maintained, and updated, you’re information is protected. While no data center is foolproof, you can get as close as possible by working with experts in information and security. That’s where Verus Corp comes in. We know that disaster recovery and business continuity, regulatory compliance, availability, and other critical business functions all depend on a storage environment, and we want to help you get there.