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PDFs, email, images, voice, and other unstructured types of data continue to flow in, out, and around insurance companies and they are multiplying at a dizzying pace. A startling quantity of electronic data, estimated to be more than 1 zettabyte was generated in 2010—the equivalent of 1 billion terabytes.

Now, the really alarming part—the amount of electronic data in the world is expected to increase at a 60 percent compound annual growth rate through 2020. This means that the quantity of information stored in the world in 2020 will be 100 times more than the amount stored in 2010. And as mind-boggling as these numbers are, the estimates may be conservative. The explosion of social media and the trillions of devices and sensors being connected to the Internet will generate increasing amounts of data.

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