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Big Data – A New Asset Class

By Mike Betron, Infoglide VP

At the RSA Security Conference in February Bruce Schneier an internationally renowned security technologist and Chief Security Technology Officer of BT refers to Big Data,

“… as an industry force, like we might talk of Big Tobacco or Big Oil or Big Pharma”

Schneier is correct, according to a report entitled “Personal Data: The Emergence of a New Asset Class” published in 2011 by World Economic Forum, personal data is becoming a new economic “asset class” the “new oil”. It is amazing; according to an IDC report the amount of data saved and collected by 2020 will be 35 trillion gigabytes.

Schneier defines companies like Google, Apple and Amazon as “Internet magnets’ that drive the collection of these large amounts of data. Data that, because of its sheer quantity, becomes unmanageable, dirty and according to some definitions becomes “big data” . According to the experts contributing to the World Economic Forum report:

… At its core, personal data represents a post-industrial opportunity. It has unprecedented complexity, velocity and global reach. Utilizing a ubiquitous communications infrastructure, the personal data opportunity will emerge in a world where nearly everyone and everything are connected in real time. That will require a highly reliable, secure and available infrastructure at its core and robust innovation at the edge. Stakeholders will need to embrace the uncertainty, ambiguity and risk of an emerging ecosystem. In many ways, this opportunity will resemble a living entity and will require new ways of adapting and responding. Most importantly, it will demand a new way of thinking about individuals.

The truth is that social network companies are not the only businesses that accumulate and control “big data”. Schneier’s definition of the big data industry as “companies that collect, aggregate and use personal data’ really describes every major worldwide business enterprise. Because of this worldwide use of this data, Schneier sees the control of “big data” as a possible security issue from the perspective of the consumer, and that is true. The need to increase “the control that individuals have over the manner which their personal data is collected, managed and shared” has got to be a top priority of any enterprise that collects personal data and the society as a whole. If individuals get the sense that data is being used for purposes that they don’t know about or trust they will simply render the data useless by manipulating and falsifying their information.

Identity and Entity Resolution tools like those developed by Infoglide can be used to provide the means to increase the value of ‘big data”. Many IT managers equate Identity Resolution with fraud elimination and protection processing. But, as this “new asset class” is further defined, accepted and the need for functional safe data increases, Identity Resolution can be utilized for ‘big data” processing across multiple platforms.

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