Why Data Is So Valuable? How To Protect Yourself Online.

Did you know that data surpassed oil as the most valuable commodity in the world in 2017?

When you consider the longstanding history and wealth that surrounds oil, it’s daunting to think that Big Data did not exist a couple of years ago. Despite 2018 being expected as the best year for oil revenue in the United States, it was still overshadowed by Big Data, which was anticipated to be worth $42 billion in 2018. The projections suggest that Big Data could be worth $103 billion as soon as 2027. Experts, including 78% of executives, believe that companies that do not engage with big data, will fail to maintain their competitive edge. The global big hitters are now the sites we type into our browsers – sometimes several times a day – such as google, amazon and most infamously, Facebook.

So, What Is Big Data?

You might of heard of Big Data and started to get concerned about this concept when news stories surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal were circulating. Big Data is simply huge data sets harnessed from almost everywhere, but depends on the 3Vs: Volume, Variety and Velocity. Essentially, consumers provide information that can be analysed and harvested for research and development, marketing, sales and workplace management.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal utilised information from Facebook, that the company should not have had access to, to influence and target specific individuals prior to political elections, including the 2016 election in the USA and the Brexit referendum in the UK. This data was so large it was described as being “on an unprecedented scale”, of over 50 million individuals.

Facebook, and big data sets, use algorithms to predict information rather than just accepting the information that a user puts into them. For example, one article on the subject highlights that the site can collect whether someone owns a car from the data you upload or input, but it can predict when you are looking to upgrade or buy a new car, which then allows companies to target adverts towards a specific and more receptive audience. Perhaps the more concerning predictions that the article mentions are the situations when Facebook identifies a heavy alcohol consumer or whether a user is

So, Why Is Big Data So Valuable?

In short, Big Data is valuable to companies, organisations and groups because it allows them to understand those they might want to market towards. Regardless of the product or concept they are selling, marketing strategies can be adapted to directly persuade specific demographics towards one product. Other things that make big data valuable, include:

Quit Whilst They Are Ahead & Work Out What The Customer Wants

With a more detailed understanding of consumers and predictive algorithms, companies and organisations are able to work out if a product is worth continuing or not. More importantly, big data sets can effectively tell a company what is missing from their existing products, which could lead to innovation and new ideas that directly answer the consumers needs. These ‘solution’ products are then presented to an audience that already believe they need them. This all comes from a detailed but automated analysis of big data sets of supply and demand but could shape the future of technology, retail, travel and so many other industries.

Cut Out Labour Intensive Decision Making

Prior to Big Data, companies would rely on more traditional R&D and market research. Now, they can simply buy or collate the data that is more accurate and available on unfathomable scales. This cuts out manual decision making; for example, a shop can utilise their Big Data to determine when to order in more of a certain product, as it calculates trends and behaviours. This can also include variables such as the rate of return, sizing or the most popular options (i.e. colour trends) for the consumer.

How To Protect Yourself Online

In light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, 26% of Americans polled deleted their Facebook app over 12 months. An additional 54% of users over the age of 18 changed their privacy settings to protect themselves online. With a host of other data breaches in the last year from companies such as British Airways, Weatherspoons and Talk Talk, it could be important to check your data settings online to protect yourself.

  • Make sure only the people you know can see the information you post, i.e. ‘Friends only’ on Facebook or manual approval for following on Instagram
  • Never post your address
  • Update your cookies
  • Consider using a VPN or at least be aware of your GPS settings by turning off the automatic setting
  • Monitor what you post or use when using public WiFi

It could also be equally important to monitor how much you post on social media. Algorithms read and interpret the data you give to them, but flippant use of social media could also mean you do not realise when you share ‘sensitive’ information. For example, the government now warns people to not post pictures of their driver’s licenses. This is a common way to celebrate passing your drivers test on social media but could give fraudsters enough personal information to take out loans and credit cards unlawfully.

General Protection Recommendations:

  1. Change your passwords to complex configurations
  2. Do not click on strange links sent to you (i.e. in your emails)
  3. Check the URLs – hackers can put redirects in to mimic a site you regularly log into to capture usernames and passwords
  4. Check your virus software is in date and robust enough to prevent issues

Here at Wizzcash, we are a payday loan direct lender. We work to a strict lending criteria to help protect our customers from poor financial behaviour, this means we will always check with CRAs (Credit Reference Agencies) as to an applicant’s previous credit behaviour. We are a direct lender as well as a broker. This means if your loan application is successful with us, we will lend directly to you. If we are not able to lend to you, we will be linked to a panelf reputable consumer credit companies who may be able to help you with a loan or similar products.  You can enquire with us at any time for more information about your application and how your data is used.