By 2011, the digital universe will be ten times the size it was in 2006, according to research from IDC.

This digital-data explosion will require IT organizations to adopt new tools and standards to ensure an efficient information infrastructure.

The study points out that existing relationships with business units will have to be transformed.

It will take all competent hands in an organization to deal with information creation, storage, management, security, retention, and disposal.

Importantly, the researchers said the problem is not just a technical one, but requires organization-wide policies.

Titled The Diverse and Exploding Digital Universe: An Updated Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2011, the report highlights several findings that will affect individuals and business around the world in the years to come, including:

  • At 281 billion gigabytes (281 exabytes), the digital universe in 2007 was 10 percent bigger than originally estimated.

  • With a compound annual growth rate of almost 60 percent, the digital universe is growing faster and is projected to be nearly 1.8 zettabytes (1,800 exabytes) in 2011, a 10-fold increase over the next five years.

  • Your "digital shadow" — that is, all the digital information generated about the average person on a daily basis — now surpasses the amount of digital information individuals actively create themselves.

  • The digital universe in 2007 was equal to almost 45 gigabytes (GB) of digital information for every person on earth — or the equivalent of more than 17 billion 8 GB iPhones.

  • About 70 percent of the digital universe is created by individuals, yet enterprises are responsible for the security Relevant Products/Services, privacy, reliability, and compliance of 85 percent.

To deal with this explosion, IDC says IT organizations must:

  • Transform existing relationships with business units. It will take all competent hands in an organization to deal with information creation, storage Relevant Products/Services, management, security, retention, and disposal. It’s not a technical problem alone.

  • Spearhead the development of organization-wide policies for information governance: information security, information retention, data access, and compliance.

  • Rush new tools and standards into the organization, from storage optimization, unstructured data search, and database Relevant Products/Services analytics to resource pooling (virtualization Relevant Products/Services) and management and security tools. All will be required to make the information infrastructure.

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