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Symantec Analyst Relations

Digital Information Costs Businesses $1.1Trillion. Are We Getting Our Money's Worth?

Created: 26 Jun 2012 • Updated: 25 Jun 2013
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By Francis deSouza, Group President, Enterprise Products and Services

This blog was originally posted in Information Unleashed: The Official Voice of Symantec

With every ring of its cash registers, Tesco is getting smarter. Each month the company collects billions of pieces of information on its customers’ shopping habits and uses them to adjust its promotions and pricing, giving the company a huge competitive advantage. In essence, this British retail giant is harnessing the power of data analytics in order to help put the “I” back in Information Technology.

And Tesco is not alone. From confidential customer data to intellectual property to financial transactions, organizations possess massive amounts of information that not only enable them to be productive and competitive, but also grow their business.  In fact, Symantec’s 2012 State of Information Survey of more than 4,500 global organizations revealed digital information makes up 49 percent of an organization’s total value.

Information on corporate systems is also more abundant than ever before.  The average enterprise is storing a truly staggering amount of information – roughly 100,000 terabytes this year, a number that is expected to increase by 67 percent next year.  This is a particularly interesting statistic when you consider how much companies are spending on their information.  The average enterprise spends $38 million on their information, while SMBs spend $332,000. 

The survey also found that the same information that helps companies improve the way they prescribe medication, set their sales strategies or more effectively price their products can also become a major liability if it is not properly managed.  In the last year, 69 percent of businesses experienced some form of information loss. The companies in the survey believe that at least 42 percent of their information is duplicated, which means they’re paying to store and manage more than they should.

So, how can a company ensure its information is an asset that drives productivity – like Tesco – rather than a liability that leads to increased cost and complexity? When it comes to protection, we must focus on the information itself – whether it resides within a company’s four walls, on an employee’s mobile device or in a third-party cloud.  To truly protect information, it must be highly available and well managed – wherever it resides.

A key issue identified by 30 percent of businesses is information sprawl – the overwhelming growth of data that is unorganized, difficult to access and often duplicated elsewhere.  We’ve got to be able to separate useless data from valuable business information and protect it accordingly. By classifying data based on its critical value, ownership or how often it needs to be accessed, companies can protect what's important to ensure it’s available when they need it.  They can reduce costs by confidently deleting what they don't need. 

Our survey reinforces the fact that the stakes in the information game are higher than ever and there will be winners and losers. By adopting an information-centric protection strategy, companies can make their information work for them, instead of against them.

To find out more about our 2012 State of Information Survey, or to download the report, visit the online press center.