As a business owner, I know that one thing will remain constant—change, and technology is hugely responsible for that change. Customer shopping habits have changed, and there has been a rise in online shopping, whereas physical stores with no online presence have suffered a significant hit. The coronavirus has also driven the move to online shopping and cashless payment faster than at any single time in history. All these changes mean that I need to adapt or go out of business. So, what business trends do you and I need to take note of to survive in this new environment?
There are always new technologies coming up, and most of them collect sensitive customer data. Just like we saw this year, the issues around data and its protection will be a must-have discussion for every business owner in 2021. Furthermore, many businesses were forced to adopt work from home programs since they could not maintain social distancing at the workplace.
This has also affected me and forced me to adopt new technologies like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to enable my workers to access the office network without worrying that the data might fall into the wrong hands as it is transmitted to their homes. I also noticed that it is quite common to see advertisements for complex technology products like VPNs; thus getting them has become easier. Apart from VPNs, data anonymizers can be used to send data in an encrypted manner and eliminate the ability to piece together the user’s profile.
Also, to adhere to data protection regulation, I have been forced to set up APIs that enable access to selected data by third parties important to my business. The traditional database-to-database connection contravenes these new laws since it increases the risk of data manipulation and data breaches from either party.
Banking has also changed, and I no longer interact with my bank the same way. Banks have been forced to adopt a concept called Open Banking, where banks provide access to some of their backend functions to other partners. Digital banking and virtual wallet use have also increased, and from a business point, I think this will continue.
You will agree with me that payment models have changed, and even global players in the financial payment space have come to accept non-traditional currencies like cryptocurrency as a payment option on blockchain systems. Businesses have also embraced this, and some of them accept cryptocurrency as payment.
We are used to having smart devices in our homes and not for any business purposes. However, this might change in 2021 thanks to advancements in Natural Language Generation (NLG), which helps to humanize data, thus enabling users better comprehend data insights in a real-life scenario. For example, the next time I need to know the sales history of certain products, all I might need to do is to ask Alexa.
Dark data, also called unstructured data, is any information collected, processed, and stored regularly. Still, it is not used for any other purpose like analytics, direct monetization, or influencing business relationships. This data comes in the form of emails, pictures, zipped files, log files and videos. It is mostly stored for compliance purposes and increases the cost of storage and securing data. If you are a business owner, like me, then the business data storage might not have been fully optimized to meet security needs.
However, there are various business intelligence tools that can be used to run dark analytics on any unstructured data. Analyzing this data can help me uncover business insights I never knew existed. This analysis will also make me examine my data storage expenses to avoid paying for data storage space for data that I never use. As a result of this analysis, I might make significant savings in my data storage expenses.
In most companies, mine included, dark data is not viewed as essential and may not get the right security measures. However, should this data fall into the hands of a hacker, then they can cause severe damage to my company. Thus, analyzing this data will enable me to know the unstructured information I have and how best to safeguard it from data breaches.