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Big Data Governance– Balancing Big Risks and Bigger Profits

To me, nothing exemplifies the real value that Big Data brings to life than the role it played in the last edition of the FIFA soccer world cup. Stephen Hawkins predicted that England’s chance of winning a game drops by 60 percent every time the temperature increases by 5ºC. Moreover, he found that England plays better in stadiums situated 500 meters above sea level, and perform better if the games kick off later than 3PM local time. In short, England’s soccer team struggles to cope with the conditions in hot and humid countries.

We all have heard, meditated and opined about the value of Big Data, the panacea for all problems. And it is true. Big Data has started delivering real profits and wins to businesses. But as with any data management program, profit benefits should be maximized while striving to minimize potential risks and costs.

Customer Data is Especially Combustible Data

The biggest lift in businesses using Big Data is obtained through the mining of customer data. By storing and analyzing seemingly disparate customer attributes and running analytic models through the whole data set (data sampling is dying a painful demise), businesses are able to accurately predict buying patterns, customer preferences and create products and services that cater to today’s demanding consumers. But this veritable mine of customer information is combustible. And by that, what I mean is that a small leak is enough to undo any benefits hitherto extracted from ensuing blowbacks like financial remuneration, regulatory constrictions and most important of all the immense reputational damage. And this is why Big Data should always be well governed. Data Governance is an aspect of data security that helps with safeguarding Big Data in business enterprises.

Big Data Governance

Big Data Governance is but a part (albeit a very important part) of a larger Big Data Security strategy. Big Data security should involve considerations along the efficient and economic storage of data, retrieval of data and consumption of data. It should also deal with backups, disaster management and other traditional considerations.

When properly implemented a good Governance program serves as a crystal ball to the data flow within the organizations. It will answer questions on how safe the data is, who can and should be able to lay their hands on the data and proactively prevent data leakage and misuse. Because when dealing with Big Reservoirs of Data, small leakages can go unnoticed. 

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