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With today’s employees able to create, duplicate and access information on a number of devices in a 24/7 business model, organisations are increasingly facing the challenge of managing security, maximising storage utilisation and maintaining IT responsiveness. Symantec commissioned a YouGov study of 1,017 UK office workers from businesses of all sizes across public, private and non-profit sectors to better understand the experiences of individuals operating in today’s information economy. It also looked at measures organisations can take to support their workforce and ensure effective working practices.
Key findings from the 1,017 UK office workers questioned include:
A nation of information addicts
The study results also demonstrate that business data is on the move despite increasing awareness among organisations of the importance of protecting confidential data and ensuring compliance. More than two thirds (69 percent) of employees have removed company information from the office network to work from home or elsewhere and over a third (35 percent) take information away with them at least once a week.
In addition, of those who access business information electronically outside of working hours, over half (57 percent) admit to using their personal mobile devices to do so, highlighting the gulf that still remains when it comes to educating employees on the potential dangers of such practice and the importance of a well communicated security policy.
Over a third (34 percent) of employees tend to keep emails because they are concerned that if they delete something that they later need, they won’t be able to retrieve it. Almost a quarter (24 percent) said their company does not have, or they did not know if they have any system in place to help them find or retrieve lost documents, highlighting the need for organisations to effectively manage the relentless data growth and backup process, enabling them to communicate to employees the ability to recover lost data when necessary.
One in ten (10%) struggle to find what they need on their company IT system and while over two thirds (40 percent) claim they can usually find what they need, they’re not so sure it’s up to date, indicating that information duplication and version control is a growing issue. Nearly a fifth (18 percent) of employees who look for information spend half an hour or more every day searching for files and information on their work IT system.
The report demonstrates that while employees are struggling to keep up with data explosion, organisations are also challenged by the resulting pressures to protect and manage ever-increasing amounts of information from multiple devices.
Gareth Fraser-King, head of Technical Field Enablement, Information Management Group at Symantec, said: “With the amount of information created and replicated expected to surpass 1.8 zettabytes during 2011 and real time communications at the heart of business, it’s important that employees can access the information they need, when they need it and not live in fear of the delete key. However, by implementing an information retention plan that incorporates aspects such as automated archival and intelligent data discovery, it is possible to keep only what is really needed and delete with confidence.
By adopting these intelligent, easy to navigate systems that differentiate between information that should be kept and that which only increases the burden on company systems and leads to unnecessary spending, it is possible for organisations to reduce their current information management headache.
The increase use of mobile devices and social media also means that clear policies and protocols must be implemented and enforced to ensure that information remains well-managed and protected. By educating employees in better practices, organisations can relieve the pressure on individuals and the company infrastructure, helping both to operate more smoothly.”
Practical steps for organisations tackling the information explosion challenge:
• Understand the new business user – organisations need to better understand the challenges employees are facing when navigating the world of information management. Consider when and how employees are accessing their information, ensure that data is both indexed and categorised, and deploy an intelligent archiving and search tools
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