More than 90% of company directors in the UK fear crucial corporate information stored by their business won’t be readable in the future, according to new research.
Already files produced in Word Perfect or Lotus 123, movie clips and photographs stored in the .MOV format, and information stored on floppy disks are in real danger of becoming unreadable in the near future.
Now a survey commissioned by Crown Records Management amongst IT decision makers has unveiled the real size of the problem for British business.
The survey showed that nearly three in five IT decision makers believe it is vital to keep corporate records secure for more than 50 years.
Only 35% of IT decision makers said they regularly review the formats on which their electronic data is held. And nearly a fifth said they don’t have systems in place to preserve electronic information stored for more than five years.
Dominic Johnstone, head of information management services at Crown Records Management, said: “These results provide a real insight into a compelling topic for all businesses now and in the near future.
“Long-term digital preservation hasn’t made big headlines so far but many companies may be in for a shock because the reality is that any information which is ten years old or more is seriously at risk.
“The speed at which software and hardware evolves is forcing old formats to quickly become obsolete and there is no guarantee they will be readable in future.”
Many businesses store information in the cloud in the belief it is safe, but they frequently don’t consider how, or if, it will be read in ten or 20 years’ time.
“It’s not surprising that cloud storage is so popular – it’s a relatively cheap and safe way to store information.” Said Johnstone. “But if the attached systems are not upgraded regularly and there is no lifecycle management in place there really is no guarantee all that information can be accessed and read when you really need it.
“Only a third of IT decision makers in our survey said they regularly review formats on which their electronic data is held. The big worry is that many of them may find their corporate information is lost in the long term.”