The ubiquity of unstructured information has businesses at a crossroads. Unstructured information is the currency of business, from files, email and instant messages to Microsoft SharePoint documents, Web sites and more. It can also be anywhere, from laptops, desktops and PDAs to file servers. What’s more, unstructured information is extremely valuable since it often represents the future – plans, strategies, tactics and ideas.  

The volume of unstructured information is constantly growing and becoming much more difficult to manage effectively. A recent survey of IT organizations conducted by Applied Research-West reported that email and SharePoint content is increasing by more than 30 percent every year.  Part of the reason is that many copies of information are stored – as an email attachment, uploaded to SharePoint and saved to a network server, for example.    Clearly, the business-critical status and pervasive nature of unstructured information call for its protection and management. At the same time, the volume and distributed nature of unstructured information make securing it difficult. As the quantity of unstructured information increases, organizations are purchasing more storage and servers to accommodate it, while also incurring the associated power and energy costs. In addition, with more unstructured information to sift through, finding specific information for legal, regulatory, human resources, information security and other business purposes becomes far more time-consuming.As companies arrive at this information crossroads, they have two choices: they can choose to disregard securing and managing unstructured information and simply accept the accompanying costs and risks, or they can decide to actively take steps now to secure and manage unstructured information and, in turn, mitigate risk and reduce expenses. Examining the challenges and opportunities of each path provides organizations with the ability to make an informed decision that is appropriate for their business.

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