Survey: When It Comes to Managing Information, Firms across North America and Europe Strive to Balance Security and Value | Be Korea-savvy

Survey: When It Comes to Managing Information, Firms across North America and Europe Strive to Balance Security and Value

“Information can be a company’s biggest advantage, yet many organizations struggle with how to unlock its potential” (image: Unhindered by Talent/ Flickr)

“Information can be a company’s biggest advantage, yet many organizations struggle with how to unlock its potential” (image: Unhindered by Talent/ Flickr)

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BOSTON, June 11, 2014 (Korea Bizwire)–When it comes to deciding how best to manage information, organizations  on both sides of the Atlantic seem more comfortable following  conventional risk-avoidance strategies than translating that information  into insight and competitive advantage. That’s one of the key findings  of the 2014  Information Maturity Risk Index, a new study published by storage  and information management company Iron  Mountain Incorporated and PwC  UK that examines how sophisticated organizations are when it comes  to not only protecting information from risk but also realizing the  promise of data analytics.

In the study, Iron Mountain and PwC evaluated 1,800 companies of varying  sizes across North America and Europe in four key areas of their  information governance programs: strategy, people, communications and  security. These scores were then compiled to produce the Information  Risk Maturity Index, the third annual measure of how prepared companies  are to manage and respond to information risk and address other key  information trends. The results, assessed for France, Germany, Hungary,  the Netherlands, Spain, the United States and Canada show that the  average Information Risk Maturity Index score (out of a possible 100) is  65.7 for the enterprise group (up to 100,000 employees) and 55.3 for the  mid-market (250-2500 employees). In North America, enterprises come in  at 65.7, while mid-market scores are at 54.5 in the mid-market; Europe  finished at 66.3 and 56.1, respectively.

While the results show similar levels of risk maturity for both  continents, the ability to extract value from that information is a  challenge. When asked to gauge the importance of securing and protecting  information versus tapping into its ability to serve as a business  asset, respondents named “avoiding a data breach” (85 percent in North  America, 76 percent in Europe) and “avoiding legal action or a fine for  non-compliance” (79 percent and 74 percent) as their top priorities for  information management. Furthermore, while 79 percent of firms surveyed  in North America and 72 percent of those in Europe said they consider  their information to be a business asset, only 35 percent (aggregate)  employ data analysts to try and extract value from that information.

“Information can be a company’s biggest advantage, yet many  organizations struggle with how to unlock its potential,” said Sue  Trombley, managing director of thought leadership for Iron Mountain.  “With so many regulations and standards, each of which can carry heavy  penalties for non-compliance, organizations should be commended for  making security and protection top priorities. The mark of a truly  mature information management program comes in finding the right balance  of mixing the priorities of security with the needs of the business to  use information to improve operations, power innovation, open new  markets and drive revenue. This forms the cornerstone of effective  information governance, allowing you to find and leverage the truly  valuable information that helps produce competitive advantage. This  study shows that, the world over, organizations are showing a desire to  balance these two priorities, yet challenges remain if they want to get  to that next level of information management and governance.”

A closer look at the survey results shows that both small and large  organizations on both continents are only just beginning to utilize  information for competitive advantage in three key areas:

  • Innovation – Just half (51 per cent) of European firms are  using information to enhance product and/or service innovation, rising  to 65 per cent in North America;
  • Time to Market – Only around a quarter (21 per in Europe and 28  per cent in North America) are using information to increase their  speed to market;
  • Product/Service Development – Barely one in 10 (10 per cent in  Europe, 4 per cent in North America) says that information has boosted  product or service development cycles.

Claire Reid, partner, PwC Risk Assurance, commented, “Businesses face  the same problems everywhere. They operate in an information landscape  that is defined by the increasing volume, variety and velocity of  information moving through the business, and by a wide range of risks.  At the same time, there is a growing expectation that businesses should  exploit information to create value. Too many companies believe they  understand the risks and value of information, but are frustratingly  passive about doing anything about it. Your information may be the  greatest business asset you have. Your customers have entrusted you with  their most personal data – you cannot afford to allow information risk  management to be a mere tick-box exercise.”

Those organizations seeking to better balance the priorities of security  and value can start with a few basic areas to become better information  managers:

  • Engage Employees – From senior leaders to everyday employees,  good information management means getting everyone in organization to  buy-in on the policies, processes and continuing education that  underpins a successful program;
  • Monitor and Measure – Mature information management programs  have metrics in place to measure the effectiveness of their policies  and processes, ensuring compliance with industry and regulatory  standards while uncovering opportunities for cost savings and  efficiency;
  • Make Information Accessible – For most businesses, information  assets are in the hands of the right people to safeguard them, but not  of those who can extrapolate value like research and development,  sales, and customer relationship teams who have the right skills to  mine that information for insights that can drive revenue.

PwC surveyed senior managers at 600 European and 600 North American  businesses in the mid-market segment and a further 600 firms across both  continents in the enterprise; industries included legal, financial  services, pharmaceutical, insurance and manufacturing and engineering.  The survey looked at four key areas: Strategy, People, Communications  and Security. For the first time, the 2014 edition includes a global  focus, looking at both mid-market and enterprise organizations in both  North America and Europe.

A summary of the report, “Beyond good intentions: An introduction to the  2014 Information Risk Maturity Index,” can be accessed at  (registration required).

About Iron Mountain Incorporated

Iron Mountain Incorporated (IRM) is a leading provider of storage  and information management services. The company’s real estate network  of over 67 million square feet across more than 1,000 facilities in 36  countries allows it to serve customers with speed and accuracy. And its  solutions for records  management, data  management, document  management, and secure  shredding help organizations to lower storage costs, comply with  regulations, recover from disaster, and better use their information for  business advantage. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain stores and protects  billions of information assets, including business documents, backup  tapes, electronic files and medical data. Visit  for more information.

Source: Iron Mountain Incorporated (via BusinessWire)

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