Trevor Daughney, director of Product Marketing with Symantec Corp., says:
You may have seen a cartoon in which a character is trying to plug a hole in a dam with his finger. As he plugs one, another leak is sprung, and he sticks another finger in that one. Another leak is plugged by his toe, until he can no longer hold back the water and the dam bursts. This is comparable to the situation in many of today’s data centers, which are becoming so overrun with information that it can overwhelm an organization’s resources.
The 2012 Symantec State of Information Survey was created to examine how businesses are dealing with the massive increase in information today, especially as cloud computing and mobile devices change the way information is stored and accessed. The survey uncovered key challenges facing organizations today. One challenge is the large amount of duplicate information being created – 42 percent of all business information, in fact. This leads to inefficient storage management and other challenges, such as knowing where to find the most current version of a file. In a related finding, respondents reported that more than 40 percent of their information is hard to find.
Another challenge arises because of the difficulty in giving all information equal weight. 31 percent of organizations reported not knowing how important their stored information is. With the constant increase in threats to information today, that can lead to increased risk of data loss or theft because of insufficient protection for sensitive information. It may also lead to retention of files longer than necessary, which can lead to problems in case of litigation or regulatory issues. In fact, nearly one-third of organizations surveyed reported that they had missed compliance requirements within the last year.
Despite these challenges, it is possible for businesses to combat the threat of drowning in their information. Creating an information governance plan can greatly improve an organization’s security and efficiency, but it must be supported by the entire company. The plan should include a combination of policies and processes to complement the technologies you are using to protect your information. Even the best protection will fail if it is not applied consistently. Symantec recommends following three steps to take control of your information.
  • First, receive top-down support for the initiative. C-level support is essential for any information governance program to succeed. Managerial oversight is necessary in order to coordinate information protection with the overall goals of the business. It will also help break down communication barriers between business entities.
  • Ensure that the program consists of specific projects with concrete goals. Different aspects of governance must be addressed, including security, compliance and eDiscovery. Intelligent management solutions such as archiving, data loss prevention and deduplication provide cost-effective protection to complement policies.
  • One of the most important steps to achieving data safety is to know what you are protecting. Commit the necessary resources to categorizing the information you are currently storing, to effectively focus protection efforts.
By understanding how your information relates to your organization, and engaging employees and solutions in a specific plan to keep it safe, you can keep your organization from being flooded with problems, retaining a controlled reservoir of valuable information that will help keep your business moving forward.