Data storage: UK consumers ‘don’t know, don’t care’

Data storage: UK consumers ‘don’t know, don’t care’

A new survey of UK consumers has revealed high levels of apathy toward data location, uncertainty on storage capacity and a willingness to delete information should it all get too much.

UK consumers are generating and handling more data than ever before, yet new research from enterprise open source pioneer SUSE reveals that more than two-thirds (69%) do not know how much data storage they have in the cloud or on mobile devices.

In addition to a lack of awareness around storage capacity, many consumers are not interested in the finer details of where their data is stored. More than a quarter (30%) are indifferent on the topic of where their data, including documents and photos, is stored – with a further 14% confirming they do not care.

“This ‘don’t know, don’t care’ attitude to data storage amongst consumers signals a wider trend to our always-on economy,” according to Matt Eckersall, regional director, EMEA West at SUSE.

“Consumers expect their storage to be scalable, flexible, cost effective and secure – and the enterprise is no different.”

Data explosion

In the UK, 51% of consumers believe the amount of data stored on their mobile devices has increased in the last five years, with almost a third (31%) viewing the increase as ‘significant’. 

This data increase extends beyond documents, photos and videos to applications. Two fifths (40%) of consumers store at least ten more applications on their mobile devices now compared to 2015, rising to more than 25 new applications for almost one fifth (18%) of respondents.

In fact, just five per cent of respondents confirmed they have the same amount of apps now as in 2015.

Storage restrictions

In today’s digital world, consumers and businesses alike face major challenges around data explosion and storage.

IDC has predicted that the collective sum of the world’s data will grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025 – 60% of which will be created and managed by businesses.

Given the ‘consumerisation’ of IT, businesses need to factor consumer habits around data storage into enterprise storage infrastructure plans.

For instance, if caught short on storage space, only one in ten (11%) consumers would keep all of their data but pay for more storage.

In fact, over half of respondents (51%) would delete data if they needed more space on their mobile device while six per cent would upload their personal files to their company’s data storage in this scenario.

“There is no doubt that consumer views, habits and expectations around data storage filter through to the enterprise,” observed Matt Eckersall.

“The blurring of lines between work and personal life means consumer behaviour is often mirrored in the workplace. Data growth impacts both individuals and businesses, where concerns around how best to store data are now at an all-time high."

Eckersall continued, “With an increase in unstructured and memory-intensive data as well as regulatory requirements to retain data for a certain amount of time, many UK organisations are now re-evaluating their approach to storage.”

“Data sets are outgrowing budgets, and traditional storage options struggle to scale fast enough to meet business requirements.”

“Organisations are recognising the need for agile, scalable and cost-effective storage – across times of both high and low storage requirements.”

“With the open source community providing innovative solutions to meet this demand for affordable storage, many companies are turning to easy-to-manage, future-proofed open source solutions that provide unlimited scalability, such as software-defined storage.”