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6 data sources you should secure for your digital business

Yves de Montcheuil | May 4, 2015
What would happen to your digital business if the data that feeds it would suddenly be unavailable? Let’s look at the various sources you may use, and how to secure them.

Your data-driven business is fueled by insights obtained from the processing and analysis of data from various sources. Have you considered what would happen if one -- or several -- of the data sources that feed this digital engine, were to dry up? If you were suddenly unable to access the critical data that make your business run?

Let's look at where your data comes from, and consider which concrete actions you can take to secure its supply.

Internal transactional data
Internal data, and especially data which primary purpose is distinct than the usage your digital business makes, is both the easiest and the trickiest to secure. It's easy because you don't have to negotiate a formal contract with a third party, and if there is executive buy-in for what you do, then getting the data owner to provide access should not be a problem. But it's also tricky precisely because of this lack of formal contract, because people change, because priorities shift. Whether accidental or not, you may find your access cut off overnight, and the restoration of this access not being a top priority for the data owner. Or data schemas may change and require that you rebuild you entire collection processes.

Action: make sure the proper processes and SLAs are in place, and follow very closely organization and staff movements to inform new stakeholders of why your access to data must remain safe.

Connected objects data
If you process data from the Internet of Things, and especially consumer connected devices, your challenge to securing access is primary legal. There are two questions you need to consider:

  • Who owns the data? Does it belong to the owner of the device, the account holder, or to your organization?
  • What can you do with the data? Surely, you can use it to render a service to your subscriber, but can you aggregate it with data from other subscribers? Can you resell this data (anonymized or not)? Can you derive insights, and resell this insight?

Action: review your terms of use and ensure these questions are being addressed. Also consider whether privacy laws and customs in various countries or regions may have an impact.

Syndicated data
Syndicated data is usually the easiest to control. Because you are paying a service provider to deliver data to you, you have a contract with this provider. This contract will cover service level agreements, licensing and usage limitations, and should ensure continued access.

However, you still need to consider what will happen if the service provider goes out of business, or changes its business model (like Twitter's recent announcement that they are shutting down their firehose to better control their supply chain).

 

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