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The importance of Big Data

Translated with Google Translate.

Big Data is a fundamental technology for the modern world. Data is the basis of the most diverse interactions between people. But it is essential that issues such as security and privacy are treated as a priority in any project of this type.

In a way, we can say that data is the new gold for companies. And this is not an exaggeration. New production, sales, and marketing technologies are accessible to virtually any company, and this makes competition extremely difficult.

One way around this is to get to know customers in as much detail as possible, knowing their preferences, needs and expectations. But what does that really mean? This means getting to know the customer in such a way that it is even possible to anticipate needs or desires that have not even been noticed yet.

A person does a Google search for a particular product, a video game for example, and soon video game offers appear on other sites they access. This is a way to capture the customer's interest and offer what he is looking for. One of the ways to do this is by using Big Data and data management and analysis tools.

Big Data is nothing more than a concept that encompasses several techniques and resources that allow you to filter, classify and study huge databases, with hundreds of thousands or even millions of records. This can be done through programming languages such as R or Python, for example, and also through the use of systems specially developed for this purpose, such as Amazon's AWS.

When these tools are well adjusted and aligned with the company's perspectives, it is possible to obtain very high quality information, which will allow making accurate decisions about the direction of the business, marketing strategies, changes in product characteristics and much more. It is also possible to know people's level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the way they are approached on the websites.

The problem of tracking customer preferences

Big Data is an excellent solution for capturing customer preferences and offering customized solutions. But is this always effective? In fact, not in the way most companies use it.

Some people don't like having a salesperson following them around the store. Likewise, many people do not like to be tracked on the internet, searching for a product and then seeing promotions for that same product on a social network, for example. Aware of this problem, companies can use the information obtained from Big Data to determine better strategies for approaching these customers.

For example, instead of showing ads linked to your preferences, it would be possible to customize the contents of the websites so that they bring this same information, but in a more subtle way, perhaps embedded in the context.

Of course, this can still generate customer dissatisfaction, as it would still be a way to track their preferences. Then you can again use Big Data and a behavioral analysis tool to individualize customers who are willing to receive advertising in this way, from those who prefer to have more privacy.

Big Data and IOT

Big Data goes far beyond already consolidated applications, such as obtaining data from websites. It is possible to use this technology to handle data from IoT devices.

IOT or Internet of Things is the technology that allows objects, of virtually any type, to connect directly to the Internet or even to other objects, exchanging information and commands. This results in the generation of an unprecedented amount of data. To process this data, it will be necessary to use Big Data techniques, powerful computers and well-built algorithms. In this way it will be possible to extract information of all kinds.

Imagine a highway full of sensors that connect to vehicles. In addition to the amount of data generated, there is a wide variety of types as well. Data can be collected such as make and model, speed in different stretches, trajectory on the track, distance between vehicles and much more. All this data would be compiled and then transformed into useful information for managing and supervising the highway. This information could also be used by car manufacturers to analyze construction aspects of vehicles and create safety and performance improvements. Advertising companies could customize their content on dynamic panels based on information such as the make and model of vehicles that are traveling at that moment.

Data leak

Big Data is fantastic, but there are challenges that go beyond the difficulties inherent in obtaining and organizing information, with data security being one of the most relevant.

A large information base is like a treasure chest. The value is incalculable, for those who know how to handle this data and make them the path to a successful strategy. For this reason, companies pay special attention to how their databases are stored and accessed.

But what about when data leakage occurs? In fact, this shouldn't happen, because it's a very serious security flaw, but while companies struggle to make their database environments more secure, there are malicious people who come up with more and more ingenious ways to circumvent these systems and get extract part or all of the database.

There are many reports of spreadsheets and entire databases being sold on obscure internet sites. They can contain different types of information, such as name and phone number, or a complete list of personal data and preferences. This is an unmissable opportunity for criminals, as they can use this information to create more elaborate scams and target people through social engineering techniques.

And the problem is not just hackers invading systems through digital doors that should be closed or gaps in the code of an algorithm, there are also situations in which employees of a company act as accomplices, providing details for an invasion and even implanting devices in servers to facilitate the action of criminals.

All of this demands a huge effort from companies in Cyber Security actions, both to protect valuable data and also to avoid legal processes, be they brought by customers or governments. For this reason, Big Data and Cyber Security must work together in any project that makes massive use of data collection and management.

Our view on Big Data

Big Data is a modality that is here to stay. Many people have sought specialization in this area, either through the use of tools developed by large companies or by learning more appropriate languages for this segment, such as R or Python. We believe that this really is an excellent job opportunity, but the trend is that the tools are improved and that there is an increase in the supply of qualified people for this area. This means that, at the moment, it is an excellent opportunity, but perhaps not as attractive as a career in the long term. But this is just our view of the matter. In any case, knowledge of Big Data techniques is useful and can open many doors for professionals in different areas.

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