IT FYI: The Information Overload

March 22, 2007
Digitization and compliance are pushing worldwide and company-wide storage limits.

According to a recent IDC research report, the amount of digital information created in 2006 alone was equal to roughly 3 million times the information in all the books ever written. One factor noted as a reason for this surge is the effect of compliance with regulatory legislation (ISO, SarbOx, FDA, etc.) that has many businesses afraid to delete anything in fear of an audit or subpoena. Another is the increasing digitization of business processes, video and voice transmission, as well as an increase in the amount and size of RFID and other sensor networks.

For instance, consider a cutting-edge "digital oilfield" that integrates real-time production and drilling systems with reservoir modeling and simulation, all of which generate tons of data that needs to be protected, analyzed and stored. These days, a typical oil company might have 350 terabytes (350,000 gigabytes) generated by 50 3D seismic projects, 10 terabytes coming from simulation models, 10 gigabytes a day from oil field telemetry and four terabytes of data per day from 30,000 subnetworks at the oil refinery.

Here are a few of IDC's suggestions for forward-thinking organizations looking to stay ahead of the data growth curve:

  • Embed IT staff within business units
  • Develop service agreements between IT staffs and business units
  • Use business metrics to set IT goals
  • Establish service-level objectives for various IT functions (storage, management, security, etc.)
  • Develop organization-wide policies for security, records and email retention, privacy protection and data access
  • Refresh IT infrastructure and provide continual training and systems support
  • Deploy targeted tech for information capture, search and discovery
  • Establish a Chief Security Office at a corporate level

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