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Putting the 'i' back into IT

01 Aug 2012

A new study shows Kiwi businesses understand the value of the information they hold but are struggling to manage, protect and get maximum value from it. Symantec’s Sean Kopelke tells Heather Wright what that means for the channel.

New Zealand resellers need to put the ‘i’ back into IT and focus on information management as a whole, as clients struggle to manage, protect and get maximum value from their data.

That’s the word from Sean Kopelke, Symantec director, specialist solutions, Pacific, as the security company releases its inaugural State of Information survey, which polled more than 4500 organisations worldwide, including 200 across Australia and New Zealand.

Kopelke says the survey highlights huge challenges and opportunities for the New Zealand reseller channel.

“As we all know, the amount of information is continuing to grow and the challenge — and opportunity — for the channel is to help customers get the maximum use and most value around their data. It is highly valuable, but that means there is also a larger risk involved, so there is opportunity there to,” Kopelke says. “And a large proportion of the information being held is not important to the business, so again, there is an opportunity for the channel to help businesses understand that and then map and classify it to help them prioritise it.”

The numbers

The survey revealed that 45% of the value of ANZ businesses is tied up in the information they own, with enterprises in the region spending on average $38 million annually on information, while SMBs spend $332,000. Per-employee spending on information was put at $3670 for SMBs, while it was $3297 for enterprises, something Symantec attributes to economies of scale for the larger organisations.

Globally, digital information is costing businesses $1.1 trillion, including $309 billion on storage, $324 billion on security, $295 billion on compliance and $117 billion on access.

The report says 61% of businesses in ANZ experienced some form of information loss in the last year, compared with 69% globally. In addition, 74% of ANZ respondents (and 69% globally) have had confidential information exposed outside the company and 25% (31% globally) have experienced compliance failures related to information.

Kopelke says the report shows customers understand the importance and value of their data, but are struggling to manage it long term.

He says the survey showed 43% of data held by ANZ respondents is duplicate information. “There’s a great opportunity for system integrators to go in and help businesses build strategies to remove all that duplicate data. You can implement the appropriate services and eradicate the duplicate data and save companies a lot of money.”

Information-centric management

Kopelke says companies need to be encouraged to build their strategies around the information irrespective of where it is housed. “That’s something customers find very difficult to do, but it’s important to make sure there is consistency in how the data is protected and monitored, whether it be in the physical world or virtual, cloud or outsourced.

“Companies need information-centric policies, that help address problems such as information sprawl, lost data and the high cost of storage,” Kopelke says.

“We’re going to market and talking with our partners about the need to shift the focus to services around managing information. It’s not about having a separate backup, disaster recovery focus, but focusing on information management as a whole.

“Rather than competing on product, we’re suggesting they expand what they’re doing and help customers manage and protect all their data as a whole. That opens up data management opportunities and the concept of big data and being able to make decisions based on the information businesses have.”

And it’s not about to get any easier, with the report saying data stores are expected to continue to grow over the next year by 67% for enterprises and 178% for SMBs.

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