Like “the Cloud”, the term “Big Data” has many different definitions. Some use the term to denote the incredible variety, velocity and volume of data that we are creating and using every day. (Here is a very interesting infographic on that point).
Others use the term to represent huge data sets from which we can intelligently extract useful trends and business information. In fact, the promise of Big Data is not just the ability to mine data for sales purposes, but also for customer and employee sentiment, and even the idea of “predictive compliance”.
Regardless, as with the Cloud, there is enormous potential value in Big Data — but there are also costs and risks that need to be weighed in the process. Among these are the eDiscovery and security risks associated with keeping a significant amount of data past its (normally) useful life. Our friend Barclay Blair has published some interesting thoughts on Big Data, the law and eDiscovery.
As in so many other areas, business will drive the need for big data initiatives; but compliance and legal need a voice in the process to adequately cover potential risks and issues.