SINGAPORE – July 2, 2012– Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced that information costs businesses worldwide US$1.1 trillion annually, according to its first ever State of Information Survey. From confidential customer information, to intellectual property, to financial transactions, organizations possess massive amounts of information that not only enable them to be competitive and efficient – but also stay in business.
The study is based on 4,506 responses in 38 countries, of which 200 responses came from Singapore.
The survey revealed that in Singapore, 50 percent of the worth of organizations is derived from the information they own.
Read more detailed blog post: State of Information
"Data is the new currency for businesses today, as valuable as any other business asset such as intellectual property and human talent. Companies, through the individuals working for them, together with their customers, produce vast amounts of information that if mined well can give them a competitive advantage," said Tan Yuh Woei, country director, Singapore, Symantec. "As with any business assets, you want to protect your data but with the increasing value and rising cost to manage data, successful companies will need to find new ways to protect their information and unleash the productivity it can bring. Failure is not an option."
Information is Skyrocketing and It's Expensive
Businesses of all sizes are dealing with enormous amounts of data. Globally, the total size of information stored today by all businesses is 2.2 zettabytes. Small to medium sized businesses (SMBs; companies with between 5 and 250 employees) 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 US$38 million annually on information, while SMBs spend US$332,000. However, the yearly cost per employee for SMBs is a lot higher at US$3,670, versus US$3,297 for enterprise. For example, a typical 50-employee small business spends US$183,500 on information management, whereas a typical large enterprise with 2,500 employees would spend US$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 US-based engineering firm when asked about the consequences of losing the enterprise's information.
Singapore respondents highlighted the impact of data loss to their business, including damage to the company's brand (45 percent), lost customers (42 percent), decreased revenue (42 percent) and increased expenses (38 percent).
Protection Measures are Falling Short
With so much at stake, protecting information should be a top priority, yet Singaporean businesses are still struggling. In the last year, 81 percent 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, 84 percent have had confidential information exposed outside of the company, and one in two (53 percent) have experienced compliance failures related to information. Another challenge is the amount of duplicate information businesses are storing – an average of 38 percent of data is duplicated. Storage utilization is also low, at only 24 percent within the firewall and 17 percent outside.
All these risks and inefficiencies result in businesses spending more than necessary on storing and protecting their information. A key issue identified by 40 percent of businesses is information sprawl – the overwhelming growth of information that is unorganized, 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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