As more businesses move online, data has become an essential resource if you’re looking to learn more about a customer base or expanding business operations. Well-sourced data can give you that competitive edge in today’s fast-paced business market and can be used to map out future business strategies.

A survey found that 85% of UK businesses collect and handle digitalised data and are using it to increase their business performance. There’s so much data out there to collect, it can be tricky to know how you can leverage it to your advantage. Here’s everything you need to know about business data:

What is business data?

Business data refers to the collective information about a company and its operations. It can be in the form of statistics, customer feedback data, sales numbers, and raw analytical data amongst other information sets.

This information is valuable to businesses for a few reasons, including:

  • Predict customer behaviour patterns – trends come and go but using data analytics means you can make sure your business stays relevant by predicting future customer behaviour.
  • Increases revenue – analysing business data opens up avenues to making your business more profitable, whether that’s by providing better products or using customer data to improve the consumer experience. 
  • Streamline business operations – company processes could benefit data as they can show areas where they can be improved and how they can be run more efficiently. 
A Filing cabinet with papers

Business data storage is more high-tech than a filing cabinet

Business data storage

As the business market becomes more data-driven, it’s important that business data is stored safely and efficiently. Most businesses choose to store either on-site or online. Online storage, or cloud storage, allows data to be saved on remote servers or hardware maintained by a third party. This is a cost-efficient and easy option but if the internet goes down, you have limited access to your data.

On-site storage doesn’t rely on the internet so is more secure than cloud options. Common memory hardware such as computer memory chips uses transistors to store and relay data to a computer. Employees can access relevant data on the premises even if there is an internet outage.

Handling business data

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has become a priority for most companies since the penalties for failing it can be devastating. With conglomerates like Google and British Airways being fined for GDPR breaches, businesses need to ensure they know how to handle data safely.

A practical way to prevent data leaks is to hire data handlers who are trained to properly handle, maintain, and dispose of data. In the case of a GDPR breach, make sure your staff is up to date on protocols and report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office within 72 hours.