The digital universe is expanding rapidly. According to a recent paper from Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, a provider of market intelligence and advisory services for the IT markets, the number of digital atoms in the digital universe is already larger than the number of stars in the universe since the digital universe is expanding by a factor of 10 every five years.

This almost exponential expansion is a never-ending concern for insurance companies that must devise plans for the enterprise to address information security, privacy protection, copyright protection, screening for obscenity, fraud detection, reporting on and archiving of content, and searching, retrieving and disposal of all data created by workers or from data center servers. In addition, strategies for dealing with compliance and information governance, as well as the creation of new tools and standards to address data searching, storage and analytics are also top-of-mind concerns for carriers.

According to the “The Diverse and Exploding Digital Universe,” which forecasts worldwide information growth through 2011, the digital universe—data that is created, captured or replicated in digital form—comprised 281 exabytes in 2007. The number of digital “atoms” in the digital universe—the digital bits or binary 1s and 0s created, captured and replicated during the year-was less than Avogadro’s number, which is the number of carbon atoms in 12 grams (6.022 x 1023).

But, by 2011, the amount of digital information produced should equal about 1,800 exabytes, or 10 times the amount produced in 2006. The compound annual growth rate between now and 2011 is expected to be almost 60%. IDC says this is important to note for insurance companies and brokerages, for whom advanced computing and meticulous record keeping accounts for a great deal of data output every year — the financial services and insurance industries account for 6% of today’s digital universe.

The typical CIO understands the security and privacy implications of this growing digital universe, IDC says, but is unsure of how to get the rest of the enterprise to understand them. However, both CIOs and data professionals aren’t fully prepared to deal with how the changing nature of this digital universe will affect their relationships with end-user departments, which is important because these departments are crucial to the classification, security and management of information coming into the company, notes IDC.

(c) 2008 Insurance Networking News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Digital Insurance content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access