According to a recent edition of The Economist, the total amount of digital data stored in the world's computers is increasing at an astounding rate. Where some analysts have indicated that data double every ten years, The Economist has found that data are increasing by a factor of ten, and doing so twice each decade. This huge increase in data naturally brings challenges with it - one of the most potent being the need for IT solutions to find the information needed at a given time, which can be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Indeed, worldwide spending on this very issue is expected to almost double by 2014, reaching a figure of $8 billion in that year.
Complicating the matter is the fact that data needing to be retained and examined can go far beyond a simple text-input paradigm. According to the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, businesses are responsible for retaining data in case it is needed in discovery procedures for a lawsuit, and such data can take the form of "writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations—stored in any medium."
This level of challenge can best be met by small and medium businesses if they work closely with an IT consulting firm with expertise in the management of large and diverse types of data. A skilled IT consultant can recommend a variety of storage and analysis IT solutions that will assist businesses to deal with the reams of data they produce and need to retain.