Digital info costs businesses US$1.1 trillion: Survey

  • Globally, info expected to grow 67% over the next year for enterprises and 178% for SMBs
  • In Malaysia, digital information makes up 50% of an organization’s total value

INFORMATION costs businesses worldwide US$1.1 trillion annually, according to Symantec Corp’s 2012 State of Information Survey, its first-ever such survey.
 
From confidential customer information, to intellectual property and to financial transactions, organizations possess massive amounts of information that not only enables them to be competitive and efficient, but also stay in business.
 
In fact, the Malaysia findings of the survey revealed that digital information makes up 50% of an organization’s total value, the company said in a statement.
 
Digital info costs businesses US$1.1 trillion: Survey“In Malaysia, the rapid growth of digital information is inevitable with several national initiatives, including Digital Malaysia which aims for a developed digital economy by 2020,” said Alex Ong (pic, left), country director of Symantec Malaysia.
 
“While organizations in the digital economy can leverage on the information they generate every day to better serve customers and increase productivity, the same information can be a major liability if not properly protected and managed.
 
“Organizations that use and manage their information effectively will have a huge competitive advantage over those who cannot, and in some cases it can be the difference between success and failure,” he added.
 
According to Nigel Tan (pic, right), Symantec’s principal consultant for the Asia South Region, the survey found that while large enterprises and small and medium businesses (SMBs) in Malaysia place a high value on business information, they still struggle to protect the information effectively.
 
“Low storage utilization rates, duplication of data and data loss are issues that businesses of all sizes in Malaysia are facing. They can address these challenges by taking proactive steps to build an information-centric IT model to protect their valuable information cost effectively,” he said.
 
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. 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% globally over the next year for enterprises and 178% 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.
 
Business impact of lost info
 
The consequences of losing business information would be disastrous. Respondents from Malaysia highlighted the impact of data loss to their business, including loss of customers (50%), damage to reputation and brand (45%), increased expenses (41%) and decreased revenue (37%).
 
With so much at stake, protecting information should be a top priority, yet businesses are still struggling, Symantec said. In the last year, 79% of businesses in Malaysia 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, 98% of businesses in Malaysia have had confidential information exposed outside of the company, and 46% have experienced compliance failures related to information.
 
Another challenge is the amount of duplicate information businesses are storing – an average of 42% of data is duplicated. Storage utilization is also low, at only 16% within the firewall and 10% outside.
 
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