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Data stifling growth instead of promoting it, says report

Constant information growth is inevitable and managing it effectively is important for any business.

In Australia, SMBs are discovering that with the growth of data, comes excess expenses and more work managing that data. A recent Symantec survey found that Australian businesses are spending more than they need to on information management and with online data continuing to rise, these costs are set to soar.

Symantec’s first State of Information Survey discovered some alarming results, with one of the major findings being that no matter what size your organisation, information is costing businesses excessive amounts and swift action needs to be taken. Also discovered was just how important information is for businesses.

In today’s digital age where cybercrime is a serious threat, information can be at huge risk if it is not handled correctly. The survey discovered that globally there is 2.2 zettabytes of business information out there and overall, the typical Australian SMB has 563 terabytes of data across all stores and devices. The findings also showed that 61 percent of companies have previously lost important business information and that 74 percent have exposed confidential information. The survey also revealed that digital information in Australia makes up almost half of an organisation’s total value, so the news that the majority of businesses have had data breaches is concerning for all involved.

In addition, worldwide information is now costing businesses $1.1 trillion annually and the massive amounts of data that organisations possess should be enabling them to be competitive and efficient, but instead it can be stifling growth as it is not being well- managed and protected. For SMBs, data growth is forecast to soar by 178 percent over the next year and alarmingly, the cost is also set to get higher. Australian SMBs are now spending on average $332,000 per annum on information. Broken down the costs are even more startling with SMBs spending $3,670 for each member of the company.

In the face of rising costs for information storage, it is essential businesses understand the significance of effectively and securely storing and protecting data. Here are five recommendations on how to minimise threats:

  • Focus on the information, not the device or data centre: With mobile and cloud technologies, information is no longer within the four walls of a company. Protection must focus on the information, not the device or data centre.
  • 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 is located. This includes physical, virtual and cloud environments.
  • Stay agile: Plan for your future information needs by implementing a flexible infrastructure to support continued growth.

By following these recommendations, Australian SMBs can reduce the amount of time and money spent on managing their information and instead use this information to better serve their customers as well as increase productivity. By addressing these challenges and developing an information-centric IT model, SMBs can also more effectively protect their information and plan for future information growth without compromise.

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Adrian Covich

Adrian Covich

Adrian Covich is a Principal Systems Engineer and heads the System Engineering team for Symantec.cloud in Australia and New Zealand. He's responsible for providing pre-sales engineering support to enterprise customers across the region, including the provision of technical guidance and management for new customers.

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