As new technologies continue to develop and grow, digital information is increasingly created. According to nonprofit group The Indus Entrepreneurs, the digital universe is expected to reach 40 zettabytes of data by 2020.
The exceedingly large amount of information being created has been termed big data, but what that means exactly can be confusing. Gartner defined big data as "high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms information processing for enhanced insight and decision-making."
Many companies have put this vast amount of data to use, gaining insights on customers and market patterns. According to a survey by software firm Jaspersoft, 48 percent of enterprises utilize big data for customer analytics, and 56 percent reported plans to create big data projects. Research from TiE found that 75 percent of organizations find the greatest value of big data to be business growth. The top five sectors using big data are finance and insurance, retail, public sector, telecommunications and entertainment.
Despite the benefits of big data and its growing use, some companies still struggle with properly storing and accessing all of their information. The TiE study discovered that 40 percent of managers find maintaining all of their data very difficult.
Data storage regulation
Recently, financial services firm Barclays was fined almost $4 million by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for insufficiently preserving required electronic books and records from 2002 through 2012. The required records included trade confirmations, ticket data, account records and blotters, among others. According to InsideCouncil, the Securities and Exchange Commission finds the FINRA document regulations essential for maintaining compliance.
The Florida Bar was another organization struggling to effectively utilize the large amounts of data they were accumulating, according to Florida Bar IT operations manager Jonathon Israel.
"The primary issue is having so many different, disparate systems," explained Israel. "Searching and retrieving content relative to a public records request or eDiscovery case is a huge burden on the IT staff. The IT group are the only ones with access to search across those systems, so any public request or eDiscovery that comes in falls on IT's shoulders. Depending on the scope of the search, this can be incredibly time consuming."
Easing data storage with the cloud
To help ease this burden, the Florida Bar decided to implement a cloud-based archiving system. According to Israel, the archive keeps all of the group's content in one place, allowing IT to create pathways for the other departments to access the content they need without asking for help.
Enterprise cloud platforms are able to eliminate the middleman and give all employees access to the information necessary to complete business functions. Transitioning to a cloud-based storage solution is also cost-effective, as companies save on energy bills by consolidating data to one location.