Addicted workers risk overdosing on information

UK workers are addicted to accessing work-related information 24 hours a day and risk drowning in it unless their business takes steps to support the information explosion.

UK workers are addicted to accessing work-related information 24 hours a day and risk drowning in it unless their business takes steps to support the information explosion, according to a survey.

The YouGov research, commissioned by Symantec, interviewed over 1,000 office workers about their relationships with information. It analysed how businesses can create an environment that supports workers in today’s information heavy business environment. With data at the fingertips of employees on numerous devices 24 hours a day businesses are faced with security, storage and availability challenges.

The findings reveal British workers are addicted to information that risk drowning in outdated information:

  • 62% access work information electronically outside of normal business hours;
  • 69% take company information from the office network to work from home or elsewhere;
  • 57% who access work information outside office hours use a personal mobile;
  • 21% keep e-mails and files unnecessarily because they simply don’t have time to sort through them;
  • 34% keep e-mails because they are concerned they won’t be able to retrieve them later;
  • 18% spend half an hour a day searching IT systems for information.

The report demonstrates that, while employees are struggling to keep up with data explosion, organisations are also challenged by the resulting pressures to protect and manage ever-increasing amounts of information from multiple devices.

Gareth Fraser-King, head of technical field enablement at the Information Management Group at Symantec, said: “With the amount of information created and replicated expected to surpass 1.8 zettabytes during 2011, it’s important employees can access the information they need, when they need it and not live in fear of the delete key.”

However, by implementing an information retention plan that incorporates aspects such as automated archival and intelligent data discovery, it is possible to keep only what is really needed and delete with confidence.


Symantec’s practical steps for organisations tackling the information explosion

  • Understand the new business user – organisations need to better understand the challenges employees are facing when navigating the world of information management. Consider when and how employees are accessing their information, ensure data is indexed and categorised and deploy an intelligent archiving and search tools;
  • Prepare the infrastructure - with the relentless flow of information only set to continue, organisations need to ensure that their IT infrastructure is able to cost effectively manage the increasing requirements for storage by implementing solutions able to de-duplicate and archive appropriately, automate processes and monitor and report on system status across a number of different platforms;
  • Prepare people - develop IT policies that educate employees on how to manage their information - from e-mail practices such as limiting the "CC" and "reply to all" culture, to saving only the latest document version and overcoming the fear of the delete button. Help employees understand the company’s information retention strategy so they know what information is recoverable.  This will empower them to take charge of information control and maintain productivity and efficiency;
  • Keep security front of mind – it seems like an obvious statement, but reinforcing company security policies around mobile devices could protect against significant and damaging data loss. Make sure employees know the company processes and take advantage of technologies that enable the IT department to see where the most important information is, at all times;
  • Encourage staff to switch off – with the information era in full swing and with more and more opportunity for employees to stay connected at all times, it’s important that organisations support staff welfare and encourage them to switch off every once in a while.


Read more on IT risk management