Symantec Corp. announced that information costs businesses worldwide US$1.1 trillion annually, according to its first ever 2012 State of Information Survey. 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 Philippine findings of the survey revealed that digital information makes up 73 percent of an organisation’s total value.
“The rapid growth of digital information in the Philippines is inevitable with several national initiatives, including the five year Philippine Digital Strategy,” said Luichi Robles, senior country manager of Symantec Philippines. “In the digital economy, organizations could use the information they produce everyday to serve customers better and increase productivity but the same information could also be a major liability if not properly protected and managed.”
According to Alex Lei, Symantec’s director for Strategic Sales Group in the Asia South Region, the survey found that while large enterprises and small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the Philippines place a high value on business information, they still struggle to protect the information effectively. “Businesses of all sizes in the Philippines face issues such as duplication of data, data loss and low storage utilization. They can address these challenges by taking proactive steps to build an information-centric IT model to protect their valuable information cost effectively” said Lei.
Information is Skyrocketing and it’s Expensive
Businesses of all sizes are dealing with enormous amounts of data. The total size of information stored globally today by all businesses is 2.2 zettabytes. Small and medium 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 globally over the next year for enterprises and 178 percent for SMBs.
On average, enterprises worldwide 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 engineering firm when asked about the consequences of losing the enterprise’s information.
Respondents from the Philippines highlighted the impact of data loss to their business, including damage to reputation and brand (62 percent), loss of customers (52percent), increased expenses (48 percent) and decreased revenue (48 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, 89 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, 56 percent of businesses in the Philippines have had confidential information exposed outside of the company, and 24 percent have experienced compliance failures related to information. Another challenge is the amount of duplicate information businesses are storing – an average of 48 percent of data is duplicated. Storage utilisation is also low, at only 48 percent within the firewall and 33 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 33 percent of businesses is information sprawl – the overwhelming growth of information that is unorganised, difficult to access and often duplicated elsewhere.