Security and Accessibility Top the List of Consumer Concerns for Data in Digital Domains

New Survey Reveals How Consumer Reliance on Electronic Data and Online Services Is Driving Enterprise Storage

January 27, 2005

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) today announced the results of a new Harris Interactive(r) survey that sheds light on the relationship between consumers’ growing reliance on their “digital domains” and data center storage trends. Expectations of online savvy adults place heavy demands on data accessibility, security and storage.

According to the survey, 94% of U.S. online adults use digital services, and, of those users, 82% consider the security of their online data to be of great importance, rating security of this information a 9 or a 10 on a 10-point importance scale. The perceived need for security is followed in importance by the ease of accessibility to a consumer’s data, which was considered a 9 or a 10 by 63% of the digital service users polled. The survey also revealed that many respondents expect the data they store through digital services to be accessible forever; this includes photo downloads (30%), online banking records (25%), music downloads (24%) or email (23%). And, while these users have growing needs for and expectations of online storage, 82% of respondents said they would not be willing to pay for additional storage capacity.

“As consumers continue to ‘outsource’ their data storage by using online services to process email, share photos, build MP3 libraries, access financial information, and participate in online auctions, the role of a well-planned enterprise storage strategy becomes all the more crucial to ISPs and other companies that profit from providing these services – especially when these customers are not willing to pay more for the increased storage they will demand,” said Mark Canepa, executive vice president of Sun Network Storage. “Additionally, the fact that consumers place the most importance on data security and access supports Sun’s systems approach to building data centers, which focuses not just on storage, but on how data is accessed, used and moved throughout its lifecycle.”

Digital services are online services that allow consumers to store, manage, access and share their personal data like photos, music or e-mail over the Internet. As consumers continue to store and access more of their personal data through online services, they build what Sun calls their own “digital domain” – a virtual world where they store, access, manage, share, move and enhance their personal data. Companies with the best enterprise storage strategies for their data centers reap the benefits from customers’ growing their digital domains.

Consumer expectations for secure and around-the-clock access to their personal data saved via digital services supports a growing enterprise disk storage industry that grew 3.5 percent year-over-year to $3.4 billion in Q304, according to sales reported for external storage in IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker, Q304 release. The growth and success of digital services for email, music, photography, shopping and banking has led to an explosion of electronic data that is created, saved and retrieved daily – all facilitated by scalable, secure enterprise storage solutions.

*Survey Highlights:

  • 94% of U.S. adults online use digital services such as online banking, shopping, travel planning, and music and photo downloads.
  • On average, about a quarter or more (23%+) of these users expect the electronic data they store via digital services for email, banking history, music and photo downloads to last forever. At least 40 percent expect the same electronic data to exist for more than a year.
  • 82% of respondents would not be willing to pay for additional storage capacity for any of the digital services shown in the survey.
  • Of the four features listed in the survey, security (82% rate this a “9” or a “10”) and accessibility (63%) are the most important concerns consumers have when they consider the electronic data they save through digital services. Security and accessibility are followed in importance by the longevity of the storage of their data (34%) and the total amount of storage available (31%).


Harris Interactive® fielded the study from December 2-4, 2004, via its QuickQuery[sm] online omnibus, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,056 U.S. online adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 1,943 use digital services. Data were weighted to reflect the total U.S. online adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and amount of time spent online. In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The online sample was not a probability sample.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive Inc. (, the 15th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, is a Rochester, N.Y.-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application. Known for The Harris Poll® and for pioneering Internet-based research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.

Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and technology to advance market leadership through U.S. offices and wholly owned subsidiaries: London-based HI Europe (, Paris-based Novatris (, Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan, through newly acquired WirthlinWorldwide (, a Reston, Virginia-based research and consultancy firm ranked 25th largest in the world, and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision — “The Network Is The Computer” — has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at


Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based upon an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.