What makes big data big? And why does that even matter?

If you’ve been following the tech blogosphere for any length of time, you’ve probably come across the term big data. What is big data, exactly? What makes data big? Why does it matter? These questions are more important than you think, and the answers directly affect your business and how it performs on the web.

What is Big Data, Exactly?

This is the best place to start. If you don’t have a solid grasp on what big data is, it’s hard to talk about more sophisticated aspects of how it behaves. In very simple terms, “big data” refers to databases that become so large that they become awkward to manage.

To put this into numbers, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data everyday. In fact, 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the past few years. What makes data so big? Well, think of the sheer amount of social media posts that come across your newsfeed everyday. Then think of the number of videos, photos and audio files that have been shared with you, or that you’ve shared with someone. Now consider that you’re just one person out of the billions who are on social media.

No matter how you slice it, there’s a lot of data out there. This is big data in a nutshell.

How Big Data Affects SMBs

If you’re still thinking that big data has little to no affect on your small business, think again. Big data is actually relative to the organization. In other words, if your data volume is too large for you to manage, then you’re officially dealing with big data. On a small business level you’re probably dealing with anything from customer data to sales data to inventory databases. This doesn’t include email, IT-related data and other company-related documents stored in your databases.

When your data becomes too big it not only becomes unmanageable—it actually tends to slow things down for your business. In some cases, you may be in a state of constant crisis management depending on computing power.

Many small companies are left with this important decision to make. Do you continue managing large sets of data with an in-house system that is growing more out-of-date by the minute? Or do you look into some new technologies that both reduce costs and make your data management strategy more efficient?

Reduce Data Waste With Cloud Storage

If this is you, then cloud storage my feel more like a miracle than an online data storage solution. Depending on your infrastructure, it may not be a great idea to migrate all of your data to the cloud. But it may be a useful way to free up some resources on your local data management system. It may end up making life easier for your IT department.

Data is getting bigger every day. No matter how large or small your business is, that reality isn’t going away. If you want to stay competitive in your industry, you’re going to need an efficient way to manage large datasets without breaking the bank. The key here is to find a solution that works well for your company’s budget and IT infrastructure.