Companies are inundated by big data on a daily basis. Big data is a term that describes large volumes of data, both structured and unstructured. Some companies use data in its anonymized and aggregate form, while others use identifying information for targeting. Social media companies, for example, collect more than just a username and images. They can collect data on everything from time of use, duration of session, demographics, interests, frequency of use, geolocation, and more. This trend toward more data will only continue to accelerate with the transformative growth and ubiquity of connected technologies such as cloud services, connected cars, smart cities, the Internet of Things, and other breakthrough innovations. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important; it’s what organizations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analyzed and mined for insights that lead to better decision making and strategic business moves. Data mining may expand business opportunities and customized services, but it also can trigger legal, regulatory, and public-relations pitfalls for the unwary.
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