Big Data…the Next Big Thing…or the Next Big Security Concern?

Two years ago, McKinsey & Company published an article on Big Data, calling it “The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity.” I recently ran across the article and it struck me that in many ways it was spot on. Frankly, analyzing large data sets isn’t a new concept…it just has a title now…Big Data. And now that it does, as I mentioned in my last Big Data post, I can’t stop thinking about what it is and how it can be better used in the world of sourcing, outsourcing and supply chain. One of the things that really captured my attention in the McKinsey article was their reference to the issues that need to be addressed regarding Big Data, including privacy and security. Imagine the collective power of the information consumers give to various sources–banks, loyalty programs, online retailers, healthcare providers–most of the time, the information you provide in one place isn’t meant to be accessed by another. We expect our information to be kept private and confidential. Disclosing personal data is a slippery slope. As Jeff Bertolucci recently said in InformationWeek, “…companies implementing big data strategies might consider this informal motto: ‘Don’t be sneaky.'” Be honest with how you plan to use the data you collect and don’t share it without prior knowledge, unless you are ready for the mistrust that will follow. Ideally, Big Data should result in something that benefits both the company collecting the information and the consumer or organization providing it. Why else would people be willing to give freely of private information? When mutual benefits are the end goal, Big Data can have powerful outcomes for both parties. But (and this is a big but), in order to harness the power of Big Data, privacy and security must be top of mind. If they aren’t, Big Data initiatives will create skeptics who have misgivings about providing the good data that is needed to make those initiatives successful. I am looking forward to the seeing the abstracts for the upcoming SIG Summit…and hoping that Big Data is still a hot topic!

Sarah Holliman

Sarah Holliman

Chief Marketing Officer