Big data has been a term thrown around all over the place. While we know that it is where corporations can access information that will make them more competitive and improve their productivity, we have not yet looked at what big data means in terms of internet providers. You might not even know that ISPs are using big data or why. This is what you should know about what ISPs are doing with the information they have.
Last March, Big Data Made Simple wrote an insightful article on this topic. Author Andrej Kovačević pointed out that big data can help ISPs slash fibre delivery time and resolve other issues.
Let’s start by looking at what exactly big data is, since the term is used lot. To put it in simple terms, big data is all of the information that is collected by businesses on a daily basis across the web. The data might not be large, per se, but it is the idea that it is information that is both structured and unstructured. A lot of the data is not even sorted or deemed useful, but stored all the same for future use.
A lot of the data collected will include demographics, usage, and even visitation habits across the web. It does not always identify who is looking at something in specific terms, but might be able to identify you by your IP address.
This is one of the topics that IMarticus talks about in one of their recent blog posts.
ISPs, like other types of companies, are also collecting big data to use it. ISPs can use big data to figure out potential customers’ geographic location, and then target these potential customers directly with advertisements, using the information they have to try to sign you up with their company. They can also figure out the effectiveness of their marketing and work out whether it has been cost effective or if it is a money pit. That way, they can abandon marketing plans that are not working out.
While it is cost-effective for companies to use big data for marketing strategies, it does have other advantages for ISPs that can carry over to benefit their customers as well. ISPs can use big data to look for any performance issues or capacity problems across their coverage area. Big data can be used to predict glitches and allow ISPs to eradicate them before they ever become a problem.
ISPs will use the argument that they are using big data to provide users with a better overall customer experience by trying to locate problems. The issue is that they have to extract information from you in order to address those problems, which brings up an entirely different question: is it secure?
Securing your Network
Just because you have signed up with your ISP to get internet to your home does not mean that they should have access to your private information. You do not need to compromise your security in their endeavour to collect more data on users and increase their overall profit. After all, even if their intent is not nefarious, there would be information about you floating around in their system, regardless of whether it is used.
There are a number of tools that can help you improve the performance of your network. You can use tools like RouteThis to diagnose issues with a home WIFI network and improve it.
The only solution for you is to lock down your network as much as possible. While you cannot control the information that your ISP already has about you from you signing up with their company, you do not need to give the more than that. You will need to have your firewall enabled and ideally have a VPN operating so that the information going in and out of your network is encrypted and given that extra layer of protection. Whether you are using Spectrum compatible routers or Google WiFi, there are ways that you can lock down your network.
You might not have considered protecting yourself from your internet service provider, but this is the world that we live in. So much of our information is vulnerable already, there is no reason that it needs to be any more vulnerable than it already is. Make sure that you have your network password protected with a unique and complicated password, use your firewalls, and make sure that your router is secure. You can also ask your ISP what information they are collecting on you. You might not get an answer, but you still have the right to ask.
Big Data is Addressing ISP Risks
ISPs are aware of the growing number of problems that they are facing. Fortunately, big data is helping them resolve these problems.