SYDNEY, Australia. – July 4, 2012– Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced that information costs businesses worldwide $1.1 trillion annually, according to its first ever State of Information Survey. The survey contacted business and IT executives at 4,506 organisations across 38 countries including 200 respondents in Australia and New Zealand with five to more than 5,000 employees.
From confidential customer information, to intellectual property, to financial transactions, organisations possess massive amounts of information that not only enable them to be competitive and efficient – but also stay in business. In fact, the survey revealed that digital information makes up 45 percent (49 percent globally) of an organisation's total value.
"The vast amount of information that organisations produce today can help them better serve their customers and increase productivity. However, Australian and New Zealand businesses are struggling with data challenges such as information sprawl, lost data and the high cost of storage," said Sean Kopelke, Director, Specialist Solutions, Pacific region, Symantec. "Organisations can address these challenges by developing an information-centric IT model that more effectively protects their information."
Information is Skyrocketing and It's Expensive
Businesses of all sizes are dealing with enormous amounts of data. The total size of information stored today by all businesses is 2.2 zettabytes. Small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) 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 percent over the next year for enterprises and 178 percent for SMBs.
On average, enterprises spend $38 million annually on information, while SMBs spend $332,000. However, the yearly cost per employee for SMBs is a lot higher at $3,670, versus $3,297 for enterprise. For example, a typical 50-employee small business spends $183,500 on information management, whereas a typical large enterprise with 2,500 employees would spend $8.2 million.
The Business Impact of Lost Information
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 engineering firm when asked about the consequences of losing the enterprise's information. Respondents highlighted the impact of data loss to their business, including lost customers (47 percent in ANZ versus 49 percent globally), damage to reputation and brand (47 percent in ANZ and globally), decreased revenue (43 percent in ANZ versus 41 percent globally), and increased expenses (44 percent in ANZ versus 39 percent).
Protection Measures are Falling Short
With so much at stake, protecting information should be a top priority, yet businesses are still struggling. In the last year, 61 percent of businesses in ANZ (69 percent globally) 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, 74 percent of respondents in ANZ (69 percent globally) have had confidential information exposed outside of the company, and 25 percent of survey respondents in ANZ (31 percent globally) have experienced compliance failures related to information. Another challenge is the amount of duplicate information businesses are storing – an average of 43 percent of data in ANZ is duplicated on par with the global average of 42 percent. Storage utilisation is also low, at only 28 percent within the firewall (31 percent globally) and 14 percent outside (18 percent globally).
All these risks and inefficiencies result in businesses spending more than necessary on storing and protecting their information. A key issue identified by 25 percent of ANZ businesses is information sprawl (versus 30 percent globally) – the overwhelming growth of information that is unorganised, difficult to access and often duplicated elsewhere.
Businesses Need to Put the "I" Back in "IT"
To help businesses more effectively protect their information, Symantec has the following recommendations:
- Focus on the information, not the device or data center: 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 center.
- 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 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.
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