Digital info represents almost half of organisations’ value
Symantec survey shows global cost of information at €892b
Tech4Biz | 28 Jun 2012 :
The total cost of digital information possessed by organisations around the world is €892 billion, according to a new survey from Symantec Corporation.
The State of Information Survey found that "digital information makes up 49% of an organisation's total value."
"Organisations possess massive amounts of information, from confidential customer information to intellectual property to financial transactions, that not only enable them to be competitive and efficient-but also stay in business," says the survey report.
"The vast amount of information that organisations produce today can help them better serve their customers and increase productivity - from more effectively prescribing medication to using real-time observations to adjust prices. However, the same information can also become a major liability if it is not properly protected. Companies that effectively use their information will have a major competitive advantage over those who cannot, and in some cases it can be the difference between success and failure," said Matt Ellard, UK and Ireland Vice President, Symantec.
"With its increasing value and rising cost, successful companies will find ways to more effectively protect their information and unleash the productivity it can bring."
Businesses of all sizes are dealing with vast amounts of data. The total size of information stored today by all businesses is estimated to be 2.2 Zettabytes. Small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) on average have 563 terabytes of data, compared with the average enterprise that has 100,000 terabytes. The survey also reveals that information is expected to grow 67% over the next year for enterprises and 178% for SMEs.
On average, enterprises spend €31 million on information, while SMEs spend €269,000. However, the cost per employee for SMEs is a lot higher at €2,979, versus €2,676 for enterprise. For example, a typical 50 employee small business spends €149,041 on information management, whereas a typical large enterprise with 2,500 employees would spend €6.63 million.
The consequences of losing business information would be disastrous. "We would have to fold our operations for at least a couple of years before we'd come back again," noted an IT manager at a large UK engineering firm when asked about the consequences of losing the enterprise's information.
With so much at stake, protecting information should be a top priority, yet businesses are still struggling. In the UK last year, 65% of businesses experienced some form of information loss for a variety of reasons, such as human error, hardware failure, security breach, or lost and stolen devices. In addition, 76% have had confidential information exposed outside of the company and 32% have experienced compliance failures related to information. Another challenge is the amount of duplicate information businesses are storing - an average of 36% of data is duplicated. Storage utilisation is also low, at only 28% within the firewall and 16% outside.
All these risks and inefficiencies result in businesses spending more than necessary on storing and protecting their information. A key issue identified by 29% of businesses is information sprawl - the overwhelming growth of information that is unorganised, difficult to access and often duplicated elsewhere.
To help businesses more effectively protect their information, Symantec has the following recommendations:
- Focus on the information, not the device or data centre: With BYOD and cloud, information is no longer within the four walls of a company. Protection must focus on the information, not the device or data centre.
- Not all information is equal: Business must be able to separate useless data from valuable business information and protect it accordingly.
- Be efficient: Deduplication and archiving help companies protect more, but store less to keep pace with exponential data growth.
- Consistency is key: It is important to set consistent policies for information that can be enforced consistently wherever it's located... physical, virtual and cloud environments.
- Stay agile: Plan for your future information needs by implementing a flexible infrastructure to support continued growth.