There's been plenty written about how information and data is a company's gold—more valuable a commodity than real estate, technology hardware and anything that exists these days.
Just recently, I cam across another analogy by EMC's Chuck Hollis that puts this viewpoint into another perspective: Information should be handled just like money.
As Hollis puts it:
Somehow -- over the last century or so -- we've all gotten extremely comfortable with the idea that money -- as a virtual and logical entity -- doesn't really live in a specific location. We don't usually need to be able to point to a physical location and say 'there it is.' We understand the risks -- and the rewards -- and we've moved on. Is information all that different?
Hollis' point is that at some point in recent years, we crossed a chasm in terms of how we think about information—it’s no longer a set of bytes stored on a specific disk somewhere, and definitely not on a piece of paper in a filing cabinet. (Though there's no denying that are still plenty of stuffed filing cabinets sitting on insurance companies' premises.) Information is a piece of value that can be almost instantaneously transferred to whomever needs it.
Money is managed very carefully, and to a large extent, it is “virtual.” But ultimately, there is a physical location that needs to be very secure, and attended to very carefully.
And, again, information is money, and now has the same virtual properties as money. It needs to be treated with the same sense of security and accountability as money.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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