With advances in IT, data has fast become the driving force behind many critical decisions and often has a direct effect on business strategy. With technology trends changing regularly, businesses have to adjust strategies to plan, prepare and overcome challenges presented by data. From rapid data expansion to new data protection regulations, firms need to be prepared.
Exponential Data Growth
Data volumes are increasing. One of the main reasons for the increase in data is that businesses are digitising. Digitisation is simply the process of converting any ‘thing’ into digits (ones and zeros), making it digital. The ‘thing’ could be any analogue data – it could be any information available in papers, hard copies etc.
This technological trend of digitisation is changing the way many businesses operate, giving users a more experiential process throughout a sale. The back-end result is often that huge amounts of data are generated; this data has to be stored, protected and managed throughout its data lifecycle and in line with existing company policies. There is an inherent challenge with managing growing data sets; in understanding what the data is and where it sits within an environment. Because of these larger data sets, organisations increasingly start looking at cloud solutions to manage their data.
Big data is a trend that is often discussed, especially when companies like Google, Apple and Amazon are being spoken about. A reason for this is that these organisations all collect vast amounts of data from their customers and in turn use this data to help drive their products and strategies.
The Increasing Value of Data
Data in its raw format is trivial, and for many organisations and users, that is how it will remain. However, for some, data is priceless.
In today’s knowledge economy, data has become an asset allowing companies to either acquire or maintain a competitive edge in the markets that they occupy. However, data has different values for different stakeholders in the business. For the shareholder, data equates to financial potential. For the company itself, data can be used to optimise the way business is done: acquisition, retention, targeting, pricing, etc.
Recently, data exchange platforms have been emerging. However, the value of personal data still depends largely on who uses it, how it is being used and in what context. The value of raw data varies from a hundred cents to a hundred dollars per individual. If raw data has a very low value, the more it is enriched, analysed and prepared for specialised uses, the more its value will increase.
Fluid and mobile working
Whether businesses like it or not – employees are on the move and taking their devices and data with them, fluid working is a trend not likely to stop soon. With the advent of more powerful laptops and tablets employees can afford to work remotely. This rise in personal devices has led to companies having to implement new rules to ensure that the valuable data stored on devices is protected, monitored and doesn’t get lost or breached.
Companies are faced with the problem of managing their employees bringing their own devices to be used for work, commonly referred to as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). The creation of BYOD policies has almost become mandatory. BYOD management policies call for three critical components: a software application for managing the devices connecting to the network, a written policy outlining the responsibilities of both the employer and the users, and an end user agreement, acknowledging that they have read and understand the policy.
Internet of Things
The internet of things is a phrase that is being thrown around more and more. The Internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data.
The IoT allows objects to be sensed or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced human intervention.
When IoT is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, virtual power plants, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but can interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of about 30 billion objects by 2020.
What this means for Data
All of the trends that have been touched upon, have one thing in common; they point towards an increased value and volume of data. Another noticeable trend in data over the last 24-months is the threat of cyber-crime. 2016 was dubbed the ‘Year of Ransomware’ and 2017 have seen a number of major data breaches causing market disruption and leaving individuals open to the repercussions of actions of cyber-criminals.
In an attempt to increase the protection of personal data, new regulations are being put into place around the globe, such as the GDPR, which will become law in May 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation will strengthen the rights of individuals and how their information is used, it will also impose heavier penalties to organisations who do not comply if a data breach is suffered. To find out more about the GDPR and how it will affect you download the Whitepaper here.