Data Companies - Overview

Goals

To provide an overview of data companies covering their functions and offerings, types and categories, capabilities, competitive landscape, and the regulatory environment the industry is subjected to in the US and UK.

Early Findings

  • According to Privacy International, the term "data companies" has evolved to connote companies that are in some way involved in the collection, processing, and distribution of data, such as data brokers, advertisers, marketers, web trackers, and other similar services.
  • Several forms of data exist along the commercial data supply chain. Forbes groups data into 13 broad categories. They include big data, structured/unstructured data, time-stamped data, spatiotemporal data, open data, dark data, real-time data, genomics data, operational data, high-dimensional data, unverified data, and translytic data.
  • There are several regulations guiding the collection, processing, and distribution of data. In the UK, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented in 2018 to modernize and harmonize data protection laws around the use of personal data or identifiable data by data companies.
  • However, there is no single principal data protection legislation in the United States as observable in the UK. Rather, several federal and state laws were created to protect the personal data of US citizens. The individual laws protect various types of data such as children's information, professional information, creatives, and communications.
  • Data companies operate in various niches which are sometimes intertwined with other segments of the industry. Some of the top data companies include IBM, which primarily stores, manages and analyze data; Micro Focus, which deals with large structured data and query; Teradata, which provides an analytic data platform, marketing, consulting services, and helps companies derive insights from data; SAP, which operates the largest enterprise application platform; and Google, which is regarded as the world's largest data processor.

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