IDC has measured the size of the "digital universe" -- all the digital data stored globally -- and it is 10 percent bigger than first predicted and will be 10 times bigger again by 2011.
IDC said the scope of the digital universe has now reached 281 billion GB and its future growth will force enterprises to adapt to ever-increasing storage
According to the company, 2007 was the first year the digital data being generated exceeded the amount of storage available.
Locally, Australia and New Zealand generated 4,600 million GB in 2007 according to EMC, who sponsored the study.
IDC also measured users' "digital shadows", the data generated about a user rather than data they personally create -- including Web surveillance data, financial records, search histories and mailing lists. IDC said 2007 was also the first year in which a user's digital shadow was larger than the data they generate themselves.
IDC said the massive increase in the volume of global data will force enterprise to adapt to the change.
"While 70 percent or more of the digital universe is created, captured, or replicated by individuals ... enterprises, at some point in time, have responsibility or liability for 85 percent," IDC said. Such responsibilities will include security, copyright protection, archiving, search and disposal. In order meet these new data challenges, IDC recommends enterprises "need to spearhead the development of organisation wide policies for information governance".
"[Enterprises] will need to rush new tools and standards into the organisation, from storage optimisation, unstructured data search and database analytics to resource pooling (virtualisation) [as well as] management and security tools."