How much data will the world produce in 2021?

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This probably isn’t news to you, but the world creates a lot of data these days.

And, yes, in this article we’re going to unpack some eye-watering statistics and explore how much data the world will produce in 2021.

But, that’s only part of the story...

What’s really interesting are the ramifications of all this data, as well as the changes organizations need to make to handle it. After all, what good is data if you can’t make use of it?

To set the scene, let’s first look at the history of data creation.

How did we get to the world of data we live in now?

The twentieth century saw the dawn of data as we know it. With the rise of the microchip, data and its rapid creation became ubiquitous. The underlying cause of this increase in data can largely be attributed to the ongoing realization of Moore’s law.

What's Moore’s law? It's the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years. This drives the progress of technology and means every year we develop faster devices that create and store more data.

Now, as we move into the 2020s, data is at the heart of modern society. Here are some mind-bending facts:

  • During 2020, 1.7MB of data was created every second by every person.
  • Every day 306.4 billion emails are sent.
  • In the last two years, 90 percent of the world’s data has been created.
  • 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day.

These are some big numbers, but the overall amount of data we’re creating is truly staggering.

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How much data will the world produce in 2021?

So, we know data is on the rise, but just how much data is going to be produced in 2021?

According to projections from Statista, 74 zettabytes of data will be created in 2021. That’s up from 59 zettabytes in 2020 and 41 zettabytes in 2019. (What is a zettabyte? It's a trillion gigabytes.)

Yep, that’s a lot of data. But this is just the tip of the iceberg for what’s to come.

What does the future of data look like?

If you’re expecting the growth of data to slow down, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Indeed, data production is set to continue and, if anything, accelerate over time.

This is fueled by a variety of factors, such as increased adoption of cloud computing and ever-improving consumer electronics that rely on more data to deliver better experiences.

What’s more, the development and widespread application of newer technologies, such as 5G networks, as well as machine learning and AI, will all contribute further to the vast quantities of data humanity creates.

All of this leaves companies with data flooding into their data storage centers, which in turn leads to some challenges that need addressing.

What challenges arise with all this data?

Here are some of the main areas you’ll want to address to keep up with the growing oceans of data:

  • Data security – with so much data, it becomes harder to ensure you’re handling everything safely. And, with the average data breach costing $3.86 million, it’s more important than ever to secure your data from internal and external threats.
  • Lower quality of data – with more data, it’s easier to lose data quality and end up with large volumes of murky data that you can‘t make use of. Automating your data pipelines and ensuring data is clean when it enters your systems is crucial. Here’s a longer guide if you’d like to learn more about how you can track your data quality.
  • Data democratization – getting non-technical staff to make the most of your data is crucial because, well, with so much data to utilize you can’t only rely on highly-trained technical users. Using techniques like data modeling gets everyone on the same page and enables collaboration among teams.
  • Regulatory compliance issues – regulations, such as the GDPR, are stringent and impossible to ignore. They’re also a lot harder to follow when your data pipelines and data storage systems overflow with new data. Again, automation is important here, but so too are up-to-date data governance and compliance frameworks.

These areas work synergistically to strengthen how your organization handles data at scale. There is, however, a key component we’ve not yet addressed: your data platform.

Handling data at scale requires the right technology

The growing pools of data on your servers necessitate technology that loves scale.

After all, just because something handles the data you throw at it now, doesn’t mean it will handle the ever-larger volumes of data you’re going to throw at it in the future.

That’s where data platforms like CloverDX can make a huge difference.

CloverDX helps organizations tackle data challenges and remove data anxiety, no matter the scale. From data cleaning to data ingestion, it takes away the need for manual data handling so that your organization can handle tasks even when terabytes become petabytes.

It’s a way to future-proof your data needs by turning your tricky manual processes into a well-oiled automated machine.

If you’d like a conversation with one of our expert team to learn more about CloverDX, reach out today for a call.

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Posted on April 23, 2021
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