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The future is data, data, and more data

Image of how secure is your password table.
This password security table was tested using the Gmail password strength meter. So are you a geek or a nature lover? Image courtesy Vizworld.com.

A selection of infographics has appeared on Vizworld, that vividly illustrates some of the key data topics today. This includes the digital information explosion and its impact on business, data management troubles, understanding real-time data and online security.

The first infographic starts with a forecast of generated digital content and information explosion. It shows a real world comparison with one petabyte of data, which is the same amount of data used to create the stunning CGI in the 2010 James Cameron film Avatar. One petabyte is equivalent to 62,500 fully loaded iPads. If stacked flat, one on top of another, it would reach 794 meters in height or just under the tallest building in the World, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, which stands at a colossal 829.84 meters.

And the data keeps on growing: 1.2 zetabytes, or 10 to the power of 21 bytes, is the estimated amount of all the data in the digital universe in 2010. This unfathomable amount of data would equate to 75 billion fully loaded iPads or an 'iStack', with a retail value of $37.4 trillion that would reach 339 miles into the sky. However, the infographic points out that the onus of the security of this data is not with users, but the service providers, i.e. Web giants like Facebook and Google.

The wild west

This increasing amount of data is also worrying chief information officers (CIOs) of companies. A survey conducted among 172 Chief information Officers on the LinkedIn CIO Forum showed that 45% cite cost as a barrier to implement a new solution to their data management and 49% cannot integrate a solution easily into their existing infrastructure.

It seems corporate culture also plays a role; 57% stated that their corporate culture makes it difficult to manage data and information, and 31% described their current practices as chaotic.

As we move down the infographic list, data is not just increasing in volume, but also in real-time terms too. "The rapid growth of data is the problem. Even in 2009's 'Great Recession', the amount of digital information grew 62% over 2008 to 800 billion gigabytes. What's critical to realize is that 35% more digital information is created today than the capacity exists to store it; and this number will jump to over 60% over the next several years," according to the infographic on Real-Time Compression.

To deal with this, automatic real-time compression is recommended. If a company or institution automates the compression of their data, this helps free up hard disk or database space instantly, reducing transmission bandwidth, which requires less CPU resources. But, real-time compression does not work on already compressed file types such as JPGs.

In the marketplace, even though companies provide automatic compression, including Oracle and WinZip, only IBM provides automatic compression and decompression in real time.

Security is always the issue

"Time and time again, [we] are warned of the importance of having strong, secure online passwords, but how often are we given instruction on password management[?]," according to the Code breaking infographic.

It provides a diagram of example passwords, from the weakest to the strongest password strings. These are broken up into rows of weak (bottom) to unbreakable (top). A weak password might be something like "football" and a strong password might be "g01111001110011101100e".

Useful tips are provided on how to create a secure password, although some of this information is pretty common sense. For example, dog's names are not recommended passwords.

In order to better protect your identity online, the infographic suggests using alphanumeric characters, a combination of upper and lower case letters, and a symbol. Each of your passwords should be unique.

For managing multiple passwords, tools such as RoboFarm or Sticky Password automatically generate hack proof passwords for every site that you use. All you have to do is remember a master password to access the manager; so, 'one password to rule them all.'

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