Most organizations can’t protect digital information in the long-term

New research has revealed that the majority of organizations do not have a coherent long-term strategy for their vital digital information even though virtually all of them (98%) are required to keep information for ten years or longer.

protect digital information

While 97% of information professionals understand the need for a specialized approach to these assets, only 11% are storing them in systems specifically designed to ensure long-term protection and access. This gap has economic, legal, and business competitiveness implications.

The research, conducted by think tank the Information Governance Initiative (IGI), provides a new benchmark for organizations to evaluate their capability and outlines tactics for closing this critical gap. It also reports on how leading organizations like Associated Press, HSBC, and the State of Texas have addressed this challenge.

The governance of long-term digital information

Information management professionals charged with addressing this problem are highly aware (97%) of the unique challenge of opening, using, and relying upon digital files over the long-term. Namely, that accelerating innovation and technology refresh rates mean that software and hardware can be obsolete, making the information unusable, long before an organization’s legal need or business requirement to keep and use that information expires.

However, most organizations appear to lack a coherent strategy to solve this problem. An alarming majority of organizations (68%), for example, rely on shared network drives to store these assets, a technology that offers no inherent capabilities to ensure access or protect digital information in the long-term.

“Every day it becomes easier and cheaper to store digital information,” said Barclay T. Blair, executive director and founder of IGI. “But every day we also see an intensification of global legal and business obligations to protect and provide long-term access to these critical assets. Our Benchmark shows that virtually every organization large and small across industry verticals faces this problem, but awareness of how to solve it is low. This concerns us.”