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Strategies to create a big data management plan: 2015 roadmap

Shahida Sweeney | Feb. 23, 2015
Success lies in starting small with your big data projects.

If you're in the front-line and make quick, high-volume or time-sensitive decisions, big data comes into its own. A broader variety of data sources offer deeper insights into business problems. This comes into sharper focus where data is limited or not readily available. More specifically, you need to be able to predict events with better accuracy. Or connect the dots between the casual but tightly-knitted relationships.

Step 4: Where did this come from?

In the rush to implement a big data strategy, the danger lies in losing sight of accuracy or authenticity. In the government, healthcare or education space, being accountable takes centre stage. The devil lies in the detail, for example, being able to identify and verify diverse data sources.

The goal is to make an intelligent and informed use of data. While policing your data assets may be unrealistic, it helps to identity high-value data sources or the crown jewels. Keeping a register of these resources also helps.

Big data, like other data, is governed by government policies, regulation and laws. This is increasingly so as consumer data is exchanged or shared in a commercial environment. Take time to consider ways to manage the data trail, or leverage the more clearly-defined audits.

You can treat your data as a strategic resource. But take time to examine the privacy and security implications. The conundrum lies in balancing open data access with responsible and accountable information exchange.

Step 5: Why privacy matters

Regulators are coming down hard on privacy and security breaches, especially as the exchange of personal data becomes pervasive, commercially-attractive and within global reach. You may hear about privacy by design principles.

Before jumping into a data lake or a large object-based storage repository, learn more about building your de-identification capabilities. Personal identifiers may be zapped through bare-bone deletions, also called a safe harbour. Or you may try masking, aggregation or expert determinations. The other tack is to offer a separation of duties and staff working with the data.

Privacy safeguards need a closer look at the point of data collection. This incorporates online, mobile or other sensors. While privacy impact statements glaze the eye, the fallout comes at a cost, including unexpected penalties.

Among the remedies, track the information flow across your project. Analyse and assess the impact on people, services or operations. Ideally, this assessment starts in the planning stages and is not an after-thought.

Be proactive rather than react to the bushfires. Use privacy as a default setting, ensure this magic word is embedded into design, and more importantly, invest in end-to-end security rather than plugging the gaps.


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