The technology community is all abuzz about this year’s new, new thing: Big Data. What is Big Data, and should in-house counsel even care? Yes, I believe in-house counsel does need to know what their company is doing. But first an explanation of Big Data is warranted.
At the simplest level, Big Data is the ability to analyze very large amounts of data that may be stored in different formats or come from different sources. Historically, data have been analyzed on a single system, typically within a single application such as a relational database. But the sheer quantity and variety of data pouring in have increased dramatically, straining the ability of single-system applications to hold and analyze these large quantities. New technologies with strange-sounding names like Hadoop have been developed to analyze very large, dynamic data sets that are frequently updated.
Discovery: What happens when your company faces litigation, and there is potentially relevant information in your Big Data system? How do you preserve, process, review, analyze and produce this constantly changing data? Would you even know where to start?