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Don’t be scared by your digital shadow | Keith Paul

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Don’t be scared by your digital shadow

How long is your digital shadow? Hell, what IS your digital shadow? Every bit of information about you–across the Internets–makes up your digital shadow. Every email, every photo, every social media account, every financial transaction, EVERYTHING you do that is represented by ones and zeros gets stored somewhere (many somewheres) and is called your digital shadow. People have shadows. Businesses have shadows. The 2011 edition of IDC’s Digital Universe study (sponsored by EMC), looks at all this data, and for the businesses out there looks at “Extracting Value from Chaos” of all this big data, doubling every 2 years for an estimated 1.8 zettabytes this year. To put this colossal number in context, think of this data in terms we can grasp:

  • everyone in the US tweeting 3x per minute nonstop for 27,000 years
  • everyone in the world have 215 million MRI scans per day
  • one person would need 47 millions years to watch 200 billion HD movies (2 hrs in length), and would need to do so 24/7
  • this much information would fill 57.5 billion (with a B) 32GB iPads
  • with this many iPads, you could rebuild the Great Wall of China, and twice as tall

Your Digital Shadow Has a Mind of Its Own

The amount of info you create — Word documents, spreadsheets, pictures, music — is far less than the amount of information being created about you. This is presenting newer and newer challenges to businesses and individuals to keep all of this information secure and to manage the immense volumes of it. Less than one-third of this information is said to be at least minimally secured. What can you do?

And for fun, download this free Digital Footprint Calculator from EMC. It’ll show you how big your digital shadow might be.