Data commute does not compute!

These days, more and more data does not stay put in the office or home. It’s getting around! Why? In part, because you are. More and more employers are seeing the benefits of allowing employees to work in ways that meet their needs. For example, people are coming in later to work to avoid congestion on the major thoroughfares. As they commute, they are working on documents, creating spreadsheets, etc. on their portable devices, including tablets and laptops. And plenty of email with confidential company data or personal info is being shared and responded to via our smartphones. We’re busy moving around – and so is our data, as today’s blog discusses.

Data commute does not compute!

by Tony Patrick

Look around any office today and you’re likely to see a wheeled laptop bag parked beside many of the desks. Why the wheels? Well, we’re all carrying more than just a laptop. There’s likely to be a tablet and a big-screened smartphone in there too – along, perhaps, with an external hard drive, a couple of USB keys and maybe even a sandwich.

The thing is, we’re carrying so many data devices with us nowadays that we can’t … well “carry” them anymore.

That set us to wondering how much data is actually being toted around by commuters every day. And had us guessing how safe that data is, too. So much is said about the amount of data on the “Information Superhighway” but so little has been said about data on the *actual* highway.

We took on the task of finding out and, for the first time, we’re lifting the lid on the true scale of the data drain caused by laptops, smartphones, USB drives and hard drives carried by modern commuters in New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Berlin and Munich

The results are pretty shocking:

  • The average commuter takes 470 GB of company data home with them at the end of every day
  • That’s 2,500 times the amount of data they’ll move across the Internet in the same timeframe
  • Every day, 1.4 exabytes of data moves through New York City alone – that’s more data than will cross the entire Internet in a day
  • As much as 33.5 PB of data will travel over the Oakland Bay Bridge every day
  • As much as 49 PB of data will travel through the Lincoln Tunnel each day
  • Up to 328 PB of data travels in the London Tube network every day
  • Up to 69 PB of data leaves Munich’s Hauptbahnhof on a daily basis
  • The Paris Metro carries as much as 138 PB of data every day
  • With 41.33% of people having lost a device that stores data in the past 12 months, huge amounts of business data is put at risk every rush hour

The thing is, there isn’t a CIO we know who would risk sending massive volumes of data over the Internet without protecting it first. But businesses in New York alone send more data home with employees than is transmitted across the internet globally every day – and the levels of protection applied to that data can be extremely light.

A thief holding up a New York subway car at rush-hour capacity could walk away with over 100 TB of data. Though, of course, what’s more likely is that they’ll run off with a single commuter’s bag – but even that could have a big impact on the business they work for if it doesn’t have another copy of the data on their laptop.

It’s not just large volumes of data that we carry with us, it’s also the most critical data; the edits to the contract that we’ve just worked through in today’s meeting, the presentation that we’re giving tomorrow morning, the tax forms that you’re halfway through filling in. Losing this data can have an immediate impact on a company’s success.

The data drain from our cities at the end of the working day could be a real issue for businesses – but it doesn’t have to be. Backing up data on mobile devices has never been easier – gone are the days of devices needing to be connected to a corporate network in order to protect them.

But many businesses still fail to prioritize endpoints in their data protection strategies because they’ve not realized the extent of the vulnerability issue that mobility has caused or the ease with which they can protect themselves.

To see more details on where the data drains from our cities, check out our heat maps.



This article originally appeared on the Mozy blog.

These days, more and more data does not stay put in the office or home. It’s getting around! Why? In part, because you are.

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