On St. Valentine’s Day, minds and hearts will turn toward loved ones. All that love also creates data and e-commerce and retail store revenue. In the UK, Finder.com reports that £1.37 billion was spent on Valentine’s Day in 2022. Author Reemul Balla reckoned that 76 percent of Brits (40 million) celebrated the occasion.
Over in the US, the National Retail Federation, described as the world’s largest retail trade association, has an annual survey done by Prosper Insights & Analytics. This year, it predicts Valentine Day Spending in the US will be $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day, up from $23.9 billion in 2022 - and one of the highest spending years on record.
So love is in the air - but do we love the data?
Potential market size
The potential market size of this lucrative e-commerce, retail, travel, and tourism opportunity is huge, and yet it is hard to ascertain how much big data is involved in consumers making their purchases online. Nevertheless, Josh Howarth offers his big data predictions for 2023, in his article for Exploding Topics in December 2022, saying: “The global Big Data and Analytics market is worth $274 billion, and around 2.5 quintillion bytes worth of data are generated each day.”
He also reports that “there are currently over 44 zettabytes of data in the entire digital universe, and 70 percent of the world’s data is user-generated with cloud computing end-user spending totals around $500 billion annually.” Why is this important? Well, all this big data generates revenue, and how it is managed by organizations for the consumer’s benefit can increase both spending and brand loyalty.
Unloved data consequences
Conversely, mismanaged data and a lack of respect for consumer data can lead to data protection disputes and huge fines. Large brands aren’t immune to them, even Meta – the company that owns Facebook - has been caught. In the Republic of Ireland, the company faced the beginning of the new year of 2023 with EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) penalties worth €210m (around $223 million) for Facebook and €180 million (approximately $191m) for Instagram.
Natasha Lomas writes in her article for Techcrunch, ‘Meta’s New Year kicks off with $410M+ in fresh EU privacy fines’:
“These new sanctions added to a pile of privacy fines for Meta in Europe last year — including a €265 million penalty for a Facebook data-scraping breach; €405 million for an Instagram violation of children’s privacy; €17 million for several historical Facebook data breaches; and a €60 million penalty over Facebook cookie consent violations — totaling €747 million in (publicly disclosed) EU data protection and privacy fines handed down to the adtech giant in 2022. But in the first few days of 2023, Meta has landed financial penalties worth more than half last year’s regional total — and more sanctions could be coming shortly.”
Another potential threat comes in the form of opportunistic cyber-attacks, which could lead to further fines and loss of customers and revenue. Tech Rage IT, therefore, warns, ‘Watch Out For Valentine’s Day Cyber Threats’. The company writes in its blog:
“Valentine’s Day cyber threats are just as common as jewelry, dining, and gifts. February 14th is a seasonal opportunity for spammers and scammers alike to lure innocent people into opening their phishing emails or downloading infected files. And, if just one user clicks on the wrong lovey-dovey message, prepare for real heartache. Malware can infect your entire network and Internet-connected devices, almost instantly.”
The threats can emanate from the most seemingly innocent romantic gestures, such as romantic e-cards, and sweet talk in chat rooms or on messaging apps. Then there is the potential danger of phishing emails - not so romantic malware - which can also come from online shopping activities by clicking on links or banners that are either linked to malware or send the consumer to fake websites. From these, they may end up being scammed and lose their hard-earned money.
Raj Samani writing, ‘Why it’s Best to Stick to Sharing Chocolates and Flowers this Valentine’s Day’ for McAfee in February 2021, comments: “Living in a digital world has made it far easier to share more than just our hearts with the people we care about – but this can leave us more vulnerable to over-sharing, and, therefore, to fraudsters. Online fraudsters have been known to use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to take advantage of online dating sites and social media to scam those looking for love.”
Threat to organizations
Organizations also need to watch out. Mimecast reveals that ransomware has attacked three out of four organizations worldwide, adding: “This is up from 61 percent in last year's survey. Additionally, when faced with a ransomware attack, 64 percent of companies paid the ransom, yet nearly 4 out of 10 of them failed to recover their data.”
David Trossell, CEO and CTO of Bridgeworks, believes organizations need to love the data they collate for big data analytics and protect their customer data with impunity. This is the time to forewarn customers to help them, avoid the pitfalls that comes with such an occasion as St. Valentine’s Day. Organizations should also be on alert to prevent ransomware or any other kind of cyber-security threat that could threaten their service continuity and data protection compliance.
“Organizations – particularly retailers and e-commerce firms – shouldn’t relax, as cyber-criminals are always planning to make the most of events, such as St. Valentine’s Day”, he says, before advising: “To ensure that they can maintain their service continuity and to forestall the impact of an attack, they need to back up their data in different data centers, including in 3 different disaster recovery sites outside of their circles of disruption, and to airgap invaluable data.”
Love data – protect it!
Loving data is about protecting it, no matter what. However, it’s also about having the ability to restore data quickly whenever it is needed. The trouble is, the further away organizations are from their data centers, the more they can face the imps of latency and packet loss. Although a good technology, not even SD-WANs can resolve this issue sufficiently without having a WAN Acceleration overlay.
An efficient method of moving data across the WAN could allow intermediate backups during the day, drastically reducing the Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO). Managing data is all about having the right data where you want it when you want it. This is a problem if the data is held within the same campus. However, storage grids now span not only the campus but also countries, continents, and clouds.
To achieve this, there is a need for a WAN technology that can handle the large volumes of data transported over near, medium and far distances that can maximize the utilization of the bandwidth of the WAN. There is also a need to handle encrypted protocols, which many medical protocols require to maintain the protection of the data, without affecting transfer performance.
If you have performant WAN links you can show the world how much you love your data. This can result in better customer experiences, improved service continuity, data protection compliance, and a competitive advantage over your rivals – particularly whenever it comes to analyzing big data.