MANILA, Philippines — A staggering 89 percent of Philippine companies lost important business information in the past 12 months, with more than half of them having confidential data exposed to outsiders, a survey by security software firm Symantec revealed Wednesday.
Symantec said this development is startling considering the vital role of digital information to companies today, with the survey pegging its value at $1.1 trillion globally.
In the Philippines, the survey showed that digital information comprises 73 percent of a company’s total value, highlighting firms’ heavy dependence on business data to keep their business afloat.
The weak link in the chain are employee devices such as smartphones and tablets, with 41 percent of firms reporting loss of important confidential through theft or misplacement of laptops, phones, and USB drives.
The irony is that many of the Filipino firms surveyed are aware of the damage dealt by data loss to their reputation and brand (62 percent), customer loyalty (52 percent), and expenses (48 percent), among others.
Some firms have even reported having to fold their operations “for at least a couple of years” due to lost business information.
“[Businesses in the Philippines] can address these challenges by taking proactive steps to build an information-centric IT model to protect their valuable information cost effectively,” suggested Alex Lei, Symantec’s director for the strategic sales group in the South Asia region.
Symantec said firms need to invest more on putting the “I” back in “IT” — referring to information — by ensuring data is stored systematically and efficiently so that they wouldn’t have to spend more than necessary to protect vital business information.
This step becomes increasingly critical in the age of IT consumerization and the cloud, it added, as information is “no longer within the four walls of a company.”
“Protection must focus on the information, not the device or data center,” it stressed.
Protecting business information also makes firms competitive in the new, fast-paced business environment, according to Symantec Philippines senior country manager Luichi Robles.
“It can be the difference between success and failure,” Robles explained. “Successful companies find ways to more effectively protect their information and unleash the productivity it can bring.”
According to the Symantec survey, the total size of information stored globally today by all businesses is 2.2 zettabytes (2.2 billion terabytes), projected to further grow by 67 percent for enterprises and 178 percent for SMBs over the next year.
On average, enterprises worldwide spend $38 million annually on information, while SMBs spend $332,000. With the massive investment on information, Symantec said it’s crucial for firms to ensure their data is handled and protected efficiently.
Symantec commissioned ReRez Research to conduct the survey among companies with five to more than 5,000 employees in February and March 2012.
They contacted business and IT executives at 4,506 organizations in 38 countries, with 100 respondents coming from the Philippines.