New Study Forecasts Explosive Growth of the Digital Universe; Spotlights Worldwide Phenomenon of 'Digital Shadow'

HOPKINTON, Mass., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- EMC Corporation, the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, today announced new findings to the groundbreaking EMC-sponsored research from IDC that measures and forecasts the vast amounts and diverse types of digital information created and copied in the world.

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"The Diverse and Exploding Digital Universe: An Updated Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2011" highlights newly updated research first revealed in IDC's inaugural forecast of the digital universe published in March 2007 . IDC's whitepaper offers updated growth projections and new findings expected to impact business and society based on new data and analysis that indicate:

IDC's new research shows the digital universe is bigger and growing more rapidly than original estimates as a result of accelerated growth in worldwide shipments of digital cameras, digital surveillance cameras, and digital televisions as well as a better understanding of information replication trends. The digital universe in 2007 was equal to almost 45 gigabytes (GB) of digital information for every person on earth -- or the equivalent of over 17 billion 8 GB iPhones. Other fast-growing corners of the digital universe include those related to Internet access in emerging countries, sensor-based applications, data centers supporting "cloud computing" and social networks comprised of digital content created by many millions of online users.

IDC's research also examines how society and the digital universe interact with each another, addressing how individuals actively participate in contributing to the digital universe -- leaving a digital footprint as Internet and social network users, email use, through use of cell phones, digital cameras and credit card transactions. The white paper also highlights the fast-growing passive contributions that individuals make to the digital universe, something known as the "digital shadow."

"In the updated study, we discovered that only about half of your digital footprint is related to your individual actions -- taking pictures, sending emails, or making digital voice calls," said John Gantz , Chief Research Officer and Senior Vice President, IDC. "The other half is what we call the 'digital shadow' -- information about you -- names in financial records, names on mailing lists, web surfing histories or images taken of you by security cameras in airports or urban centers. For the first time your digital shadow is larger than the digital information you actively create about yourself."

Enterprise IT organizations that gather the information comprising our digital shadows have a tremendous responsibility -- in many cases mandated by law -- for the security, privacy protection, reliability and legal compliance of this information.

"Society is already feeling the early effects of the world's digital information explosion. Organizations need to plan for the limitless opportunities to use information in new ways and for the challenges of information governance," said Joe Tucci , EMC Chairman, President and CEO. "As people's digital footprints continue growing, so too will the responsibility of organizations for the privacy, protection, availability and reliability of that information. The burden is on IT departments within organizations to address the risks and compliance rules around information misuse, data leakage and safeguarding against security breaches."

Due to its vast size and rapid expansion, both consumers and businesses experience the impact of the digital universe in many profound ways. IDC reports the information explosion creates new complexity for IT organizations charged with managing digital information that is rapidly growing in size and becoming more diverse. Consumers will also struggle with the growth of their own digital information as they attempt to figure out what to do with all the data they're creating.

EMC and IDC have assembled numerous resources regarding the ongoing research, interaction with and public discussion of the digital universe.

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SOURCE EMC Corporation