Due to modern ways of working, more data than ever before is being circulated through businesses, making it more challenging for them to manage the information efficiently.
Any errors could lead to sensitive details being leaked to third parties, so it is key that organisations develop a secure data strategy, taking into account all of the risks existing within the industry.
This is particularly important for authorities, which handle a large influx of personal information every day.
IBM is aiming to help by introducing its Smarter Cities Challenge, which will see a team of consultants assess an issue and produce a report on potential solutions, helping to introduce better data management methods.
It launched last year and will run until the end of 2013, by which time the company hopes to have covered 100 cities across the globe, reports UKAuthority.com.
As part of the work, a team of six consultants will carry out advance research on a city, meet their leaders and local organisations and draft a report, which will then be finalised for open publication online.
Belfast is the latest city to join the initiative, following the recent involvement of Glasgow and Birmingham.
The city's project will investigate how corporate social responsibility can be linked in with business strategies, while helping to promote equal opportunities and improve local neighbourhoods.
Speaking to the news provider, IBM UK's Corporate Citizenship Manager Mark Wakefield claimed that the Glasgow project highlighted problems with data ownership.
"If you are the customer, is that your data? In fact, as soon as it goes into the meter, it becomes the property of someone else, and companies might say it is commercially sensitive or protected by data privacy. So some of the legislation in this area seems to work against the interests of the citizen," Mr Wakefield continued.
To forward the recommendations made in the report, Glasgow Council has set up a working group, which will strive to make necessary improvements.