Who owns your data?

Posted on by Paulo Caetano

2 minute read

Information has always been an important asset for nearly any business. Your company produces and holds valuable data, whether about its products and services, about its customers, suppliers, market details, financial records, employees, … you name it.

Such data is certainly stored somewhere. These days, more commonly, companies are hosting its data in the cloud, in many different services and solution providers, like CRM systems, ERP solutions, email providers, ecommerce tools, data analytics and overall software apps companies use daily. What you might not be fully aware is that the data you hosting on such services, probably is out of your hands, meaning, you don’t own it neither control it. You just have access to it, provided you keep paying the for the service. Hence the question: is your data really yours?

Now more than ever before it is of higher importance for your company to be in full control of its own data. If your company doesn’t have a solid policy for its data records in place, it might be in serious risk. We might be talking about potential data leaks, information abuses, loss of strategic knowledge and market insights, competitors taking advantage of your business data and so on.

Let me give you just one simple (but huge) example on what we’re talking about here: Amazon, the giant online retailer, has been recently accused of taking massive advantages against smaller retailers who sell on Amazon’s marketplace. Amazon simply used the huge amount of their customers and partners’ data to obtain competitive advantage over and at the expense of such customers and partners. Imagine you are developing your business and someone is learning from your failures and successes and outruns yourself. Very unfair, to say the least.

Quoting the official press release, found here:

“The European Commission has informed Amazon of its preliminary view that it has breached EU antitrust rules by distorting competition in online retail markets. The Commission takes issue with Amazon systematically relying on non-public business data of independent sellers who sell on its marketplace, to the benefit of Amazon’s own retail business, which directly competes with those third party sellers.”

European Comission, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_2077

More info about Amazon antitrust violations here and here.

This Amazon example is only one in many. Such kind of events will most likely have a negative impact upon your business performance. “Data is the new oil” or “Information is power”, so they say. It’s true. There are countless examples of business successes or failures directly related to good or bad data management practices.

First and foremost, you should consider to fully own and control your data centers, server instances, apps and wherever your business information is stored. If your data doesn’t really belong to you, anyone can benefit from it. If you are investing your valuable resources on producing or acquiring such data, it’s your company that shall benefit from it, not your competitors.

If you want some advice concerning your company’s data status and strategy, feel free to contact us. We are here to help you.

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