Information is valuable to businesses, but how valuable is it exactly?
If you ask Symantec, it comes down to $1.1 trillion annually for businesses worldwide.
This number comes the way of the security vendor’s first ever State of Information Survey, which Symantec Pacific region specialist solutions director, Sean Kopelke, says attempted to “put a dollar figure” on that overall cost of looking after that information
“It is a pretty big number when you look at it, but it really does highlight how important information really is,” he said.
Globally, organisations that responded to the survey said that they thought information and IP inside their business accounted to 49 per cent of the overall value of their business in A/NZ.
“So we truly are in a situation where information is one of the most critical assets inside our business,” Kopelke said.
The survey found that digital information makes up 49 per cent of an organisation’s total value, which may prompt some to wonder how and why information has become such a big part of businesses.
According to Kopelke, it comes down to what the exact value of information is and whether it adds value to the business.
“If you take some fairly simple examples, and we have been speaking to various types of customers and one of them was supermarket retail chains, and understanding how valuable information is for them,” he said.
“One chain takes real time understanding of purchasing habits of their customers across all their different stores.”
Also, instead of having a blanket promotion around a sale, Kopelke highlights how supermarkets have changed their strategy around marketing to customise promotions to different regions based on the demographic, buying behaviour, and the types of customers that they have.
“So instead of having to spend months to work that out, they can make those decisions fairly rapidly, because they are analysing and utilising information in real time,” he said.
Because of this, there are now “huge volumes” of data that retailers are capturing to do that.
“It can be simple buying behaviour, online shopping lists on mobile devices, and other ways where they can take information and utilise it very quickly,” Kopelke said.
From the SMB perspective, the survey found that on average a typical business has 563 terabytes of data.
Not only that, but that information is expected to grow 178 percent for SMBs over the next year.
While information is growing and is extremely valuable, Kopelke says that it is also costly to manage.
“When you look at the SMB space, they are no different to the enterprises,” he said.
“There’s a lot of value in the information that they hold, whether it is interactions with customers, IP in terms of go-to-market, strategy documents, and design information.”
The challenge, according to Kopelke, is helping customers make the most of this information, and he feels that this translates into an opportunity for the reseller space, system integrators, resellers, channel and vendors such as Symantec.
“We need to help SMBs and enterprises understand that not all information is created equal,” he said.
“There is information they hold that is irrelevant that they need to get rid of, and there is highly important information.”
Thus, when businesses and CIOs look at information, Symantec has found that they are often unable to tell what is important and what is not.
“So we have to categorise and help them understand what information is important to them,” Kopelke said.
With the survey finding that 42 per cent of information held by businesses being duplicate data, Kopelke sees the next step being to find that duplicate information and then de-dupe it.
“The technology is there to do things like that, and it’s about helping those SMBs to understand how that technology can be utilised, as well as how to use the right channels and system integrators to help them do that,” he said.