The Ponemon Institute, on behalf of networking and data management firm Novell, looked at the compliance costs of managing business data at 100 firms.
The 'Compliance cost associated with the storage of unstructured information' report said the proliferation of unstructured data, such as emails, documents, presentations and spreadsheets is creating critical storage, control and compliance challenges for customers.
Ponemon found that smaller-sized organisations were susceptible to a proportionally high rate of compliance costs associated with the storage of unstructured information.
The average cost for organisations with fewer than 5,000 employees was $1.23 million, while the average cost for organisations with more than 75,000 employees was $2.71 million, indicating that smaller businesses pay six times more per employee than larger businesses.
Heavily regulated industries such as financial services, pharmaceuticals, communications and healthcare were susceptible to the highest compliance costs, incurring an average of $2.5 million annually.