Unstructured Data a Growing Challenge, Survey Finds

    May 24, 2016

    While companies clearly are aware of the importance of information governance (IG), many do not have insight or control over employee-produced data, according to a recent survey from Acaveo and Osterman Research.

    They surveyed more than 100 organizations with an average 20 TB of unstructured data stored and found that only 37% of them regularly audited the amount of data employees or business units produce. Just 35% said they had a budget in place to deal with unstructured data challenges.

    Overall, while many companies admitted to struggling with governing unstructured data, only half of the surveyed companies said they have an IG program in place to help deal with it.

    But they do understand the importance, as 70% cited regulatory risks and 66% cited the need to avoid any data risks as reasons to adopt an IG program. In addition, 75% of respondents noted the cost savings IG can bring to storage costs.

    Other findings include:

    • 55% of firms perform regular file share cleanup exercises.
    • 40% of firms had a “defensible deletion” program in place.
    • Of the companies that have an IG program, 75% justify the program based on storage costs.

    Notably, the survey predicts that the proportion of unstructured data stored in-house will increase from 22% currently to 25% in just two years, while cloud storage will comprise a bit less than half of an organization’s information repositories in at least five years.

    Experts are advising companies to use comprehensive communications archives in order to quantify and analyze unstructured data, while being “future-ready” and agile enough to handle any unexpected compliance or security issues, according to Legaltech News.

    It is curious that the percentage of companies that allocate resources to bring some level of control over unstructured data is so small (35%-37%) in comparison to the percentage that recognize the threats it poses (66%-70%). While unstructured data may seem uncontrollable, the IG professional has an opportunity to bring some order out of the chaos. Here are some ARMA International’s resources to help:


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