Big data is now a familiar term to businesses which are driven by data. On the other hand, Data Exhaust is also related to the world of big data; but has a potential to act as an evil twin brother to it. The term Data Exhaust refers to the data generated as trials or information byproducts resulting from all digital or online activities. It includes storable choices, actions and preferences such as log files, cookies, temporary files and even information that is generated for every process or transaction done digitally.
Here are five things which make data exhaust equivalently related to big data
Secondary data vs Primary data- If big data is primary data that relates to the core functions of your business, then data exhaust is secondary data, or everything else that’s created along the way. Let us understand it better with an example. For instance, banks consider debits and credits to its customers as primary data. Secondary data includes information like what percentage of customer transactions are done at an ATM instead of a physical branch. If big data helps in keeping a track of where customers are spending, data exhaust or secondary data helps a banking firm in improving their services-like loading more currency in ATMs which serve more people on day to day basis.
Data exhaust is physically bigger than big data- It is a known fact that big data is large and might consist raw or unstructured data. Secondary data is even more bigger, as there are hardly any limits on what a company can collect. The point to be noted over here is that data exhaust can become interesting as a use for it is found. That is secondary data can become primary data as soon as its true use can be discovered.
Data Exhaust has a great potential- Like said in one of the above paragraphs, data exhaust can be enormously helpful. For instance, if a user is using his/her credit card for fuel expenses, then a bank can offer them a credit card which can save them from fuel surcharges. This is where secondary data turns in primary data and can proves useful for banks as well as to customers.
But can come with legal hassles- Data Exhaust can also bring in trouble if it is not handled on a proper note or falls into wrong hands. The same can apply to big data as well. Imagine some one finds your phone number and starts pestering you with marketing calls? The same applies to secondary data as well. There are potential legal, marketing and public relations risk around leveraging that data. Sometimes businesses could end up alienating their customer base or partners by knowing stuff about them that they didn’t want anyone to know. For example, if an insurance company knows your car parking areas through GPS location then it can raise rates for customers who routinely park in high crime areas. So, obviously legal hassles will follow as soon as the user learns about it.
Decision will be yours- Making secondary data to primary will be a decision of users. For instance, when it comes to smartphones and other IoT devices, its well-known that much of the associated streaming data is overhead from device handshaking and extraneous log data. However, its doubtful whether this data will be useful and if it is, whether it is legal to start exploiting it. From a technical perspective, companies need scalable storage technologies like Scale out NAS as well as tools for self service data access.
So, finally data exhaust can become equivalent to big data when users start realizing its usage. However, like big data, if secondary data falls into wrong hands, it can create a lot of trouble.