Big data – an opportunity or a threat in the fight against fraud?

Crime / Law | Sectors   |   
Published March 18, 2014   |   
Ben Rossi

It’s shocking to think that despite the UK losing an estimated £52billion to fraud annually, some businesses still bury their heads in the sand when it comes to confronting the problem, whether it comes from an internal or external threat.

In times when people are rightly lauded as being companies’ top assets, it can be hard to apply some healthy scepticism around their integrity. Worse still, the prevailing view is that fraud is a neighbourhood problem; many executives think that it may happen to the company ‘next door’, but ‘not in my back yard’. Sadly, such complacency often leads to the belief that it’s not worth investing in something that might never happen.

Into the mix now comes big data, which presents both an opportunity and a threat in the fight against fraud: an opportunity if its potential is seized and used, but a threat if ignored as “red flags” become more opaque with increasing volume of data.

Big data, according to analyst firm IDC, is growing exponentially. The digital universe in which we operate is enormous, currently amounting to 1.8 trillion gigabytes and more than doubling every two years. Since 2005, corporate investment in the digital universe has expanded by 50 per cent to around £4trillion.

There is no denying that big data is now part of the fabric of corporate Britain. As businesses create, capture, manage and store information on everything from physical location, communications and supplier ledgers through to customer transactions and buying habits, so the data will become progressively more valuable, both to businesses and also to fraudsters.

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