Cyber attacks, data theft, data loss and security breaches are just a few of the worries that financial firms have to face when it comes to producing and storing their digital data. "The result of any of these could end up costing millions, or even billions of dollars," writes Marc J. Firenze, CTO at Eagle Investment Systems. However, the promise of aggregating this information and using it to improve company systems can be looked at as an opportunity that outweighs the risk.
Collecting big data for the sake of collecting data won't reap a financial firm many results (if any) says Firenze. "Rather, it's about having high quality data that's useable. Big data – at least usable big data – is not purely a technology or storage issue, but is one that is reliant on quality data and sound data governance," he writes. Information that is harnessed to solve problems and drive operational efficiency can not only save the company money, it can drive revenue as well. Firenze says, "Improvements can be made across many dimensions including managing risk, operating more efficiently, or improving the client experience."
However, many financial firms are focused on the promise of "striking gold" by using big data to make better investment decisions rather than improve business operations. Firenze says this is a mistake. "Think first about the business benefits and then apply a creative, thoughtful, and flexible approach to big data," he says. "This approach will give you the best chance of not only 'striking oil,' but, more importantly, being able to realize its many practical uses."
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An initiative from the Office of Science and Technology Policy held a demo this week to explore how technology can be used to empower disaster survivors and first responders, such as those who responded in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. U.S. CTO Todd Park says, "Technology in the wake of a disaster isn't useful unless people know how to use it."
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