Big data is a term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing application software is inadequate to deal with them. Challenges include capture, storage, analysis, data curation, search, sharing, transfer, visualization, querying, updating and information privacy. The term "big data" often refers simply to the use of predictive analytics, user behavior analytics, or certain other advanced data analytics methods that extract value from data, and seldom to a particular size of data set. "There is little doubt that the quantities of data now available are indeed large, but that’s not the most relevant characteristic of this new data ecosystem." Analysis of data sets can find new correlations to "spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on." Scientists, business executives, practitioners of medicine, advertising and governments alike regularly meet difficulties with large data-sets in areas including Internet search, finance, urban informatics, and business informatics. Scientists encounter limitations in e-Science work, including meteorology, genomics, connectomics, complex physics simulations, biology and environmental research.
Data sets grow rapidly - in part because they are increasingly gathered by cheap and numerous information-sensing mobile devices, aerial (remote sensing), software logs, cameras, microphones, radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers and wireless sensor networks. The world's technological per-capita capacity to store information has roughly doubled every 40 months since the 1980s; as of 2012, every day 2.5 exabytes (2.5×1018) of data are generated. One question for large enterprises is determining who should own big-data initiatives that affect the entire organization.
Relational database management systems and desktop statistics- and visualization-packages often have difficulty handling big data. The work may require "massively parallel software running on tens, hundreds, or even thousands of servers". What counts as "big data" varies depending on the capabilities of the users and their tools, and expanding capabilities make big data a moving target. "For some organizations, facing hundreds of gigabytes of data for the first time may trigger a need to reconsider data management options. For others, it may take tens or hundreds of terabytes before data size becomes a significant consideration."
In 2001, Strassel was the first mainstream journalist to cover problems with historian Michael Bellesiles's book Arming America (2000). Bellesiles resigned his professorship at Emory University in 2002 following an investigation launched by the university, and the Bancroft Prize for the book was revoked.
She became a senior editorial writer and member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal in 2005.
In 2006, Strassel co-wrote Leaving Women Behind: Modern Families, Outdated Laws (ISBN 0-7425-4545-8), which argues that government regulation interferes with marketplace initiatives to provide women with economic opportunity.
In 2007, Strassel began writing the long-running "Potomac Watch" column for the Wall Street Journal.
Strassel favorably profiled then-candidate for US vice president Sarah Palin shortly before the 2008 election in an article entitled "'I Haven't Always Just Toed the Line'". The article originally appeared in the Weekend Interview section of The Wall Street Journal on November 1, 2008.
In 2012, Strassel wrote an editorial in the WSJ that alleged the Obama campaign was targeting Frank L. VanderSloot, a national finance co-chair for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign and a top campaign donor. Strassel's editorial was disputed by journalists and liberal commentators. In May 2013, as part of the IRS targeting controversy, Strassel reported that the IRS (not the Obama campaign) targeted conservatives, including Frank L. VanderSloot.
In 2014, Strassel won the $250,000 Bradley Prize, an honor which she shares with columnist George Will and former CEO of Fox News Roger Ailes. On the occasion of the award, the president of the conservative Bradley Foundation, Michael Grebe, noted "Ms. Strassel’s 'Potomac Watch' column is an essential example of journalistic excellence. Her keen focus on government transparency and accountability as well as her important analyses on issues of the day strengthen the American fabric.”
In February 2016, Strassel was among the panelists for the South Carolina Republican presidential debate.
In June 2016, she published a book called The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech, detailing her assertions about the IRS's alleged harassment of conservatives and other similar events.