Key Big Data Terms You Should Know

A new era has encaptured the world, the digital age. Due to the rapid advances in technology, there has been an increasing amount of data being generated. In the business world today, the use of data is very influential and essential in making business decisions. When discussing data and its uses for businesses a common term is used, Big Data. This term is fairly new but the practices are ancient, yet many are unfamiliar with the concept. The world is surrounded by data ready to be analyzed and interpreted for good use, but first, there needs to be an understanding of the concept and its surrounding key components. After all, knowledge is power.

The Basics

First, there needs to be an understanding of what Data is. Data is facts or pieces of information that can be used in calculating, reasoning or planning. Now Big Data is not a software or company, but simply a term to describe the large amount of data that can be analyzed for insights and information that can lead a business to make better decisions and strategic plans.

Big data is characterized by three key terms; volume, velocity, and variety. When in reference to big data these terms take up a big meaning in the digital realm. Volume refers to the expanding amount of data being generated monthly, weekly, daily, even hourly.  Companies are able to use data beyond the internet, including business transactions, social media, machine data, and sensors. Especially relevant, velocity is used to describe the increasing speed at which data streams in and is being generated. And finally, Variety describes the various forms data can exist – from numeric data, structured or unstructured texts, email, images, audio or financial transactions – data is everywhere.

Protecting Data 

It is true that data is everywhere, nearly every aspect of an individual’s life has a data component that can be used for analytical observing. From the coffee bought from Starbucks to the social media pages being checked, some sort of data is being generated. With all this data there needs to be limits and precautions to ensure safety and privacy. Hence, where Data Privacy, security and governance come into play.

Data Privacy deals with the collection, protection, and distribution of personal or private information belonging to individuals or organizations. Data security concerns the protection of data from unauthorized modification, destruction or disclosure whether intentional or accidental. And finally, data governance, helps businesses maintain information and data on customers, keeping all information secure. Understanding these three terms and the policies/laws surrounding them is essential when it comes to the frequent use of data for businesses in order to avoid future complications.

As technology continues to advance and further integrate into the daily lives of users, Big data will continue to grow and maintain its force in the business world. It is nearly impossible to ignore the amount of digital information that can be used for a company to improve its standing, no longer are educational guesses and intuition enough. From the brilliant mind of W. Edwards Demming, “In God we trust, all others must bring data.”.


“Big Data: What it is and Why it Matters.” SAS: The Power to Know, Accessed June 2017.

Marr, Bernard. “The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Big Data in 2017.” Forbes, 14 Mar. 2017,        Accessed June  2017.

McAfee, Andrew. “Big Data: The Management Revolution.” Harvard Business Review, Oct. 2012,    management-revolution. Accessed June 2017.

“What is Big Data?” IBM, Accessed June 2017.

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