Eighty percent of an organization’s data is unstructured (Gartner 2010). Documents are being created constantly by virtually all members of an organization with access to a laptop or workstation, and saved on file servers and SharePoint servers, where they remain for long periods of time—often indefinitely. Unstructured data represents an enormous amount of organizational data inventory.
Unstructured Data Growth Is Exponential
Not surprisingly, with so many individuals creating and storing files, the volume of unstructured data is growing at a phenomenal rate. Gartner estimates that in 5 years, unstructured data will grow by 650% – this roughly equates to 50% year over year growth.
A Greater Portion of it Needs to be Managed and Protected
As the data grows so does the scope of what it contains, and the potential ramifications associated with its loss, exposure, and misuse. As risks increase, they are naturally followed closely by new regulatory requirements, archive policies, intellectual property requirements, and personal confidentiality laws mandating additional protections. In The Digital Universe Decade – Are You Ready?, John Gantz and David Reinsel write, “The number of things to be managed is growing twice as fast as the total number of gigabytes […] By 2020, almost 50% of the information in the Digital Universe will require a level of IT-based security beyond a baseline level of virus protection and physical protection. That’s up from about 30% this year. And while the portion of that part of the Digital Universe that needs the highest level of security is small – in gigabytes and total files – that portion will grow by a factor of 100.”
Data protection is necessary to safeguard an organization’s customers, employees, business partners, and investors. It is fundamental in securing intellectual property and competitive edge, and for maintaining the organizational trust that allows it to properly function. Every organization has at least a modicum of customer information, employee information, product design documents, HR documents, legal documents, blue prints, images, audio and video files that relate to the business and its customers — most organizations have a formidable amount. This data must be protected and managed.
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