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With evolving technology comes a growing number of sophisticated data breaches aimed at obtaining emails, credit card numbers and addresses for shoppers worldwide. In the last five years, there has been multiple high-profile breaches including Under Armor and the MyFitnessPal app, Target, Whole Foods Market, Chipotle Mexican Grills, and most recently Hudson’s Bay Co. which is home to Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.

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This is the third post in a five-part blog series focused on future trends in business.

Technology is an ever-increasing field, especially in today’s world.  The advancements we are currently experiencing are greater than the entirety of society’s past.  By 2020, the amount of information available via digital gateways will grow from the current five zettabytes to 50 zettabytes (in perspective, one zettabyte is equal to 10^12th gigabytes, or over 15 billion flash drives).  Subsequently, for almost all global actions, there are digital footprints left behind—every Google search in China, use of a Nest home system in the United States, or activation of a trending smartphone app in South Africa leaves behind data and information.  Enter, big data.

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The rapid growth in the fintech industry is revolutionizing the financial industry, forcing traditional banks and new startups to become more technologically advanced. Customer behavior is an area that has a lot of potential for financial institutions to gain insights through data analytics. Data analytics would allow banks and other institutions to have agile systems that learn through experience, where they would automatically refine the algorithms to improve results.

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In the age of information, the mind-boggling amount of data available at our fingertips can seem daunting. Yet, handled in an efficient manner, it can also be immensely useful. Big Data—referring to the use of nontraditional analytics to examine vast amounts of data—has become an increasingly important part of the business landscape. Over the past few years, several prominent corporations have invested in Big Data analytics and are incorporating them into their business strategies—UPS ostensibly spends $1 billion a year on Big Data analysis strategies. Specifically, many are looking at Big Data as a way to further optimize logistics and increase efficiency of commerce. Those who currently utilize Big Data analysis find it essential, warning that other companies who do not adapt to the technology may find themselves left behind.

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Big data has long been a buzz word in the business world, with the seemingly endless benefits more data can bring. Companies use data to spot trends and find consumer preferences, allowing for things like personal advertising and targeted pricing. While big data can be very helpful, some businesses find trouble transforming the vast amount of information into useful insights.