The amount of digital information increased by 73 per cent in 2008 to an estimated 487 billion gigabytes, according to the latest figures from IDC.
The analyst firm's report, entitled As the Economy Contracts, the Digital Universe Expands, was unveiled at the EMC World event in Florida today.
The report was partly sponsored by EMC, which used the information to push its storage offerings at the customer event.
"Those who use information growth to their advantage are seeking out new and creative ways to manage, secure and protect the rapidly growing volumes," said EMC president and chief executive Joe Tucci.
The IDC study found that 30 per cent of information created today is " security intensive", and that this figure will grow to 45 per cent by the end of 2012.
Examples of security intensive information include patient medical records, credit card numbers, e-commerce data, video surveillance and legal documents.
The study also found that 25 per cent of the world's information in 2008 was "compliance intensive", defined as subject to rules that govern what information must be stored and accessed by regulating authorities.
IDC predicted this information, which includes employee email archives and human resource records, would grow to 35 per cent of the "digital universe" by 2012.
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