Creating order from the chaos of the information explosion

For the modern CIO, the biggest risk is losing control over their information. Also known as “digital creep,” this was a top concern for many CIOs who took part in a recent survey.

Objective conducted in-depth interviews with a range of CIOs in government and regulated industries to uncover the top challenges their organizations face in managing information, and how they plan to address them over the coming months and years. coming.

Among their concerns was managing the vast amounts of information being created, with 41% of CIOs naming information proliferation as their top challenge in managing information.

The explosion of information opens up risks for the news

The intense focus on digital creep among CIOs comes as no surprise when you consider the amount of content we produce. A little over ten years ago, the total data storage capacity in the world was approximately 487 exabytes. By 2025, it is estimated that we will create the same volume in less than two days.

Public sector CIOs are dealing with an explosion of information from two angles: both incoming information from the public and information created within their organizations. Much of this information is stored in silos such as network drives, cloud storage systems, business systems, and email.

This uncontrolled information exposes the organization to greater reputational, legal and security risks. For example, we’ve seen a spike in ROT (redundant, outdated, trivial) information that leads to a host of data quality, governance, and usability issues.

Higher Risk Personally Identifiable Information

An even more worrying trend is the increase in personally identifiable information (PII) breaches. IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach report found that 80% of companies had PII-compromising documents.

Another study by cybersecurity firm Varonis found that in 15% of organizations, more than one million files were accessible to every employee in the company, including documents containing sensitive personal information.

Data rich but information poor

There was a consensus among the CIOs we interviewed that their organizations are “data rich but information poor”.

And many are looking for ways to connect and synthesize this information in order to derive insights and value. At the same time, there was a strong sense of the need to balance this potential with the need to remain compliant with recordkeeping legislation, a consideration that remains a top priority for public sector and industry organizations. regulated.

As they plan for a digital future, the CIOs we interviewed are working on a holistic approach to information management.

But 21% of CIOs said their organization lacked a broader information and data management strategy, and many felt their CIOs focused more on records than on the broader strategy. broad information management.

To learn more about the challenges faced by CIOs in the public sector and regulated industries, download our backgrounder: How CIOs are taming information proliferation.

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