Big Data: What’s The Big Deal About It?

Like many businesses we follow the story of Big Data and what it means to us and our clients.  With a massive increase in volume, velocity and variety of data it is more important now than ever before, to ensure we provide ourselves and those who use our services with a secure, safe and resilient environment to store data.

But I have been thinking all this Big talk is a little bit frightening don’t you think? Big is very seldom used to mean something nice or indeed complimentary, Big Brother, Big Business, Big and Scary, Big Issue, Big Deal, Big Fish (in whatever sized pond) even down to a personal level, no one ever thanked the person who mentioned they were Big Boned.

In fact, the only regularly used phrases with Big in it that form any type of positive endearment around these parts (without being rude) are Big (SATC, high heel and cocktails) and Big Country, the fond memories of lumberjack shirts and un-kept hair (in fact just the memory of hair for me is good enough).

Along with these and the current government’s Big Society pitch – Big can seem a daunting prospect to manage and get your head around, let alone do something productive with..

The term Big Data most likely originates from Big Companies selling Big Stuff (and usually at a larger than average price tag – otherwise the solution would be about medium or slightly larger data which does not have the same tag line). We (IFB) have to play our part. When the really large companies in any industry set an agenda and terminology, it usually sets the rules of engagement for a smaller player like us and therefore we have to play. Sort of.

Proportionate to our size we generate a huge amount of data, both digitally and hard copy, every day and we need to think a bit more carefully about what it is we actually need to achieve with our data and break this up a little.

We tend to split ICT up in to its components Information, Communications and Technology.

The Communications and Technology parts, the boxes and software, the leads and feeds that lets your data flow through your business securely, predictably and as you need it is something we have been doing really well for a long time for ourselves and for some really small and some really big clients.

The information part:  How quickly we can make relevant data available to the folks in sales or the guys in the technical support desks or the finance office, of course affects how well we service ourselves and our client base. Turning data into useful information is a key driver for us and at the core of our business operational and directional strategy.

But not all the data we generate has the same value, or even needs to be retained for any period of time. We think that the massive predictions which are giving rise to the term ‘Big Data’ are, in some part, true.  Analysts agree that the average amount of storage installed within businesses has increased by about 45% annually, but at the same time the cost of the raw resource used to manage data, storage, per Terabyte has been declining by 35% to 40% per year.

So, if you are lucky to be spending 5% more year on year just to store your data, which a big chunk of I can almost guarantee, you could dump.

One key question to ask is; are you storing more data because you have to or because the creep of cheaper storage has hidden this growth from you? What is the total cost of data storage to your business, especially the stale older stuff that sits collecting digital dust on a hard drive or tape somewhere?

Are you storing your data for risk aversion? Then you should be talking about data recovery. Have the systems, process and policies in place to enable you to be competently backing your data up from your servers, workstations and laptops. As equally important but more critical, check that this data needs to be backed up and that when you need to recover it you can.

Big does not need to be scary, or expensive, or complicated or even big. It just needs to work for you.

IFB, founded in 1996, is a leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) and provides ICT infrastructure for businesses across the UK. IFB have recently added Cloud services to their service portfolio, run from their Scottish Data Centre.  IFB can be contacted on 0845 270 2101 or geton@ifb.net. More about the company can be found at www.ifb.net.

For more information contact:
Alexandra McDonald
Senior Account Executive
Tricker PR
01224 646491

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