Only 0.5 percent of the world's data is being analysed, according to an IDC study that also identifies opportunities for companies that can protect and extract value from the massive amounts of data being generated daily by people and machines.
The EMC Corporation sponsored study shows that 2.8 zettabytes (ZB) of data would have been created and replicated in 2012 and the digital universe will reach 40 zettabytes (ZB) by 2020.
Machine-generated data is set to increase 15 times by 2020 and emerging markets will oust the developed world as the main producer of the world's data by this time.
The investment on the "infrastructure" of the digital universe that includes IT hardware, software, services, telecommunications and staff will grow by 40 percent between 2012 and 2020.
"As the volume and complexity of data barraging businesses from all angles increases, IT organisations have a choice: they can either succumb to information-overload paralysis, or they can take steps to harness the tremendous potential teeming within all of those data streams," said Jeremy Burton, executive vice president, Product Operations and Marketing, EMC Corporation.
Data to double every two years
New IDC Digital Universe study, "Big Data, Bigger Digital Shadows, and Biggest Growth in the Far East, also shows that the digital universe will double every two years between now and 2020.
In 2020, there will be about 5,247 GB of data for every man, woman and child on earth but large quantities of useful data are getting lost as it is largely untagged file-based and unstructured data.
About 23 percent or 643 exabytes of the digital universe in 2012 would be useful for Big Data if tagged and analysed and by 2020, 33 percent of the digital universe or more than 13,000 exabytes will have Big Data value if it is tagged and analysed.
At present, India and China account for four percent and 13 percent of the current global breakdown of the digital universe respectively and China is expected to generate 22 percent of the world's data by 2020.
IDC predicts that 46.7 percent of data stored in the cloud will be related to entertainment and not enterprise data by 2020.
"This year's study underscores the massive opportunity that exists for businesses that not only identify the potential benefits of the digital universe, but recognise the importance of navigating that universe with the right balance of technology, data security practices and IT skills," added Burton.