Ignorance isn't bliss: Snubbing big data may be more dangerous than embracing it

The potential security and privacy risks that come with big data analytics may be outweighed by the cost of inaction, according to a new white paper from IT association ISACA.

The paper, 'Generating value from big data analytics,' looks into the rapidly-expanding data that companies have at their disposal.

The conclusion it draws is that understanding the business case of analysing big data is as imperative as understanding the technical and operational risks, due to the anticipated return on investment that comes with big data adoption.

"There are risks inherent in implementing big data, such as ensuring privacy laws are not breached," said Norman Marks, a member of ISACA's Emerging Business and Technology Committee.

"But the risk of inaction may be far greater, with a company being left behind as its competitors embrace the technique to leap ahead."

"The insights obtained into customer needs and buying patterns, the reputation the company holds in the marketplace and the emergence of new risks can help the organisation make dramatic advances by adapting its strategies for success."

The rise of big data has been significant in recent years, with a recent Gartner survey revealing that 64 per cent of companies are planning or have already implemented big data systems. However, of those planning on implementing big data solutions, 92 per cent have yet to make any move towards it.

Related: Making sense of big data and its role in your business

Such figures suggest that there is still some apprehension surrounding the adoption of big data systems, with many organisations struggling to understand how best to generate value from big data.

ISACA's white paper reports that retail and healthcare industries contain the most potential for big data analytics, due to the sheer volume of data already collected.