Jun 12th, 2013

Few technologies currently generate more excitement within the business community than big data. In a relatively short period of time, big data has evolved from a burden to a key resource for firms in virtually every industry. By leveraging advanced business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools, organizations can gain unparalleled insight into their customers, their competitors and their own operations.

However, for any big data initiative to succeed, it is imperative for businesses to invest not only in the tools necessary for analysis, but also big data transfer solutions. Big data is typically collected and created at a wide variety of locations and then analyzed elsewhere. Without the means to move these data sets quickly and efficiently, businesses cannot gain the full value from their big data resources.

There are a number of secure file transfer options on the market, and it is critical for businesses to choose wisely. Here are three key factors to consider when making this decision.

1. Security
Security is of paramount importance whenever data of any kind is being moved, stored or utilized. After all, data exposure can have devastating consequences for businesses, ranging from reputational damage to the loss of intellectual property. This is true not only of financial data and other obviously sensitive information, but also the unstructured and semistructured data which comprises big data. Increasingly, cybercriminals are coming to realize that while big data may not yield immediate, direct financial benefits, it can be sold to interested parties for significant profits.

Consequently, they are beginning to actually target businesses' big data resources. Such attacks can occur at any time, but firms are particularly vulnerable when transmitting the big data from point to point which, as noted above, is almost always a necessity.

That is why businesses need to make certain to choose a file transfer solution that features top-quality security controls. The solution should be highly adaptable to ensure that it can handle the constantly evolving attacks cybercriminals use to steal information. To this end, firms should only choose to partner with secure file transfer vendors that have established trustworthy reputations within the field.

2. Ease of use
For many companies, the transfer of big data sets and files is performed by numerous employees at every level and throughout the day. Businesses have increasingly adopted self-service models for a wide range of IT services, including BI, analytics and customer relationship management (CRM).

For these technologies to prove useful, employees must be able to send and receive big data with ease. If the program used for this purpose imposes too great a burden on workers, overall productivity and efficiency will inevitably suffer.

Additionally, the onset of delays will damage the effectiveness of the results produced, as big data is most valuable the moment it is created, and it begins to lose value from that moment onward. If the big data transfer solutions are inefficient, employees may only gain access to these information resources once they have lost a significant portion of their total utility.

3. Scalability
The amount of big data that a firm will collect, generate, send and receive in a given day is, for most companies, highly variable. A spike may occur one day, followed by a trough the next. Furthermore, different weeks, months or seasons may lead to more or less big data, depending on the market.

As a result, many companies' big data transfer needs will be inconsistent. Only by leveraging a scalable solution can firms avoid either over- or under-investing, thereby maximizing cost-efficiency and performance.