Less Than 1% Of World's Data Is Analysed; Less Than 20% Is Protected: Study

Opportunities abound for companies capable of protecting and extracting value from an expanding universe of data, finds EMC study.

hidden December 13, 2012 15:49:13 IST
Less Than 1% Of World's Data Is Analysed; Less Than 20% Is Protected: Study

EMC Corporation has announced results of the EMC-sponsored IDC Digital Universe study, "Big Data, Bigger Digital Shadows, and Biggest Growth in the Far East"- which found that despite the unprecedented expansion of the digital universe due to the massive amounts of data being generated daily by people and machines, IDC estimates that only 0.5 percent of the world's data is being analysed.

The proliferation of devices such as PCs and smartphones worldwide, increased Internet access within emerging markets and the boost in data from machines such as surveillance cameras or smart meters has contributed to the doubling of the digital universe within the past two years alone - to a mammoth 2.8 ZB. IDC projects that the digital universe will reach 40 ZB by 2020, an amount that exceeds previous forecasts by 14 percent.

This year's study marks the first time IDC was able to capture where the information in the digital universe either originated or was first captured or consumed, revealing some dramatic shifts currently underway. Now in its sixth year, the study - measuring and forecasting the amount of digital information created and copied annually - includes findings around the "Big Data Gap," which is the gap between the amount of data with hidden value and the amount of value that is actually being extracted; the level of data protection required versus what is being delivered; and the geographic implications of the world's data.

Study Highlights:

Rapid expansion of the digital universe: IDC projects that the digital universe will reach 40 ZB by 2020, an amount that exceeds previous forecasts. The digital universe will double every two years between now and 2020. There will be approximately 5,247 GB of data for every man, woman and child on earth in 2020. A major factor behind the expansion of the digital universe is the growth of machine generated data, increasing from 11 percent of the digital universe in 2005 to over 40 percent in 2020.

Large quantities of useful data are getting lost: The promise of Big Data lies within the extraction of value from large, untapped pools of data. However, the majority of new data is largely untagged file-based and unstructured data, which means little is known about it. In 2012, 23 percent (643 exabytes) of the digital universe would be useful for Big Data if tagged and analysed. However, currently only 3 percent of the potentially useful data is tagged, and even less is analysed. The amount of useful data is expanding with the growth of the digital universe. By 2020, 33 percent of the digital universe (13,000+ exabytes) will have Big Data value if it is tagged and analysed.

Much of the digital universe is unprotected: The amount of data that requires protection is growing faster than the digital universe itself. Less than a third of the digital universe required data protection in 2010, but that proportion is expected to exceed 40 percent by 2020. In 2012, while about 35 percent of the information in the digital universe required some type of data protection, less than 20 percent of the digital universe actually has these protections. The level of protection varies by region, with much less protection in the emerging markets. Challenges such as advanced threats, the security skills gap and lack of adherence to security best practices among consumers and corporations will continue to compound the issue.

A geographic role-reversal is around the corner: Although the digital universe was a developed-world phenomenon in the early days, that is about to change as the population of the emerging markets begins to cast a longer shadow. While emerging markets accounted for 23 percent of the digital universe as recently as 2010, their share is already up to 36 percent in 2012. By 2020, IDC predicts that 62 percent of the digital universe will be attributable to emerging markets. The current global breakdown of the digital universe is: U.S. - 32 percent, Western Europe - 19 percent, China - 13 percent, India - 4 percent, rest of the world - 32 percent. By 2020, China alone is expected to generate 22 percent of the world's data.

Other Key Findings:

As cloud computing plays an even more important role in the management of Big Data, the number of servers worldwide is expected to grow tenfold and the amount of information managed directly by enterprise datacentres will grow by a factor of 14.

The type of data stored in the cloud will also experience a radical transformation over the next few years. By 2020, IDC predicts that 46.7 percent of data stored in the cloud will be related to entertainment - not enterprise data. Surveillance data, embedded and medical data, and information created by computers, phones and consumer electronics will make up the remainder.

The amount of information stored in the digital universe about individual users exceeds the amount of data that they themselves create.

Western Europe is currently investing the most to manage the digital universe, spending $2.49 USD per GB. The U.S. comes in second, investing $1.77 per GB, followed by China at $1.31 per GB and India at $0.87 per GB.

As the infrastructure of the digital universe becomes ever more connected, information won't reside within the region where it is consumed, nor will it need to. By 2020, IDC estimates that nearly 40 percent of data will be "touched" by cloud computing (private and public), meaning that somewhere between a byte's origination and consumption, it will be stored or processed in a cloud.

Jeremy Burton, Executive Vice President, Product Operations and Marketing, EMC Corporation said, "As the volume and complexity of data barraging businesses from all angles increases, IT organisations have a choice: they can either succumb to information-overload paralysis, or they can take steps to harness the tremendous potential teeming within all of those data streams. This year's study underscores the massive opportunity that exists for businesses that not only identify the potential benefits of the digital universe, but recognise the importance of navigating that universe with the right balance of technology, data security practices and IT skills. At EMC, we're uniquely positioned to help customers manage, protect and unlock game-changing value from data that translates directly into competitive advantage."

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