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Vulnerability – Introducing 10th V of Big Data

There is a huge hype of Big Data and its features, most of them have been summed up in 9 different Vs of Big data like Volume, Velocity, Variety, Veracity, Validity, Volatility, Value, Variability, Viscosity.

In a recently published white paper by credit reference agency Experian, a proposal has been given to add another “V” to the Big Data features Vulnerability. With the increasing size of people personal data, they have started feeling that it is being used to pry into their behavior to sell them things by different commercial websites.

This is not being liked by some people who may stop doing business with such organizations where their private data is at risk while others aren’t worried about this, as they are comfortable with a transaction that involves exchanging an amount of privacy for an amount of convenience or value.

John Roughley, Experian’s head of strategy for credit services, told “We think about things emotionally … and the emotion that’s associated with data is sometimes of nervousness, anticipation or vulnerability. Stories have been heard about data breaches, and most people have experienced their data being misused as well –people getting calls for asking about payment protection insurance, or telling them they had an accident when it wasn’t.“

At current scenario, with industries running behind Big Data, when data comes up in casual conversation, we generally get excited to discuss the amazing new things we can do with the ocean of data available to us, and the ways that Big Data and analytics are changing the world for the better.

But sometimes the tone can be markedly different while discussing personal data being used by businesses and organizations and why do they need to know so much? What will happen if this data gets out, won’t it be easy for criminals to steal money from our bank accounts and even take our identities?

In order to diminish this fear, organizations need to reassure customers about the safety of their personal data that it won’t be lost, misused or misplaced. This will require achieving a level of “data stewardship” far beyond a level that which is offered by most data businesses today.

Once that’s done, people will be more interested to hear about the another V – value. “We can help people in knowing how the most value from their data can be extracted like in finding a cheaper energy tariff or share their Fit bit data with their doctor to get better medical advice. All this depends on how we are currently conditioned to think about data.

Advice in Experian’s publication, A Data Powered Future, includes taking a careful overview of the data security and having procedures in place for monitoring change of how an organization’s use of data could be more transparent to its customers. By adopting a pro-active policy of transparency, organizations doesn’t just increase trust in its customers but also opens a channel for another conversation about the value that their services can bring.

But we are far away from this approach currently. Challenges need to be faced while addressing people’s concerns about their personal data – particularly when it comes to medical or financial information. Organizations have a big responsibility to protect our personal data and be more transparent about its usage. This can be addressed by adding “Vulnerability” as another essential consideration, with regards to every piece of data which is collected. This would be a pragmatic step towards addressing the personal data problem with Vulnerability.

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