Where would your business be without its data? Dead, say many IT professionals who serve small businesses. It’s not a surprising revelation to come from a survey that was conducted by a company that provides data backup and recovery services. But still, it’s food for thought as you save the week's files and close down shop for the holiday weekend.
In its 2014 Report on the State of Data Backup for SMBs, Carbonite compiled responses from 500 IT professionals at U.S. companies with fewer than 100 employees. Two in five of them say that if the companies they service lost all their files they would likely go out of business. How many of those companies have a backup plan to avert such a fate? Only about 40 percent.
The IT pros surveyed reveal that data loss is common: 62 percent have experienced it during their careers. And it is painful: 65 percent worked for companies that suffered a profit loss or a missed business opportunity as a result of losing company data. A majority also say data losses hurt employees.
Still, many IT pros surveyed backup their company or client's data offsite on the cloud--now a more popular destination than off-site servers and flash drives. Most, however, still back up to an external hard drive, NAS device, server, or other external device. Nearly one-third say their organizations continue to back up data on employee computers or some other local means.
Carbonite, which says businesses need a wakeup call to reprioritize their data protection and security plans, offers five takeaways from its survey:
1. Data Loss Kills Your Bottom Line. IT pros surveyed believe it would cost their companies an average of $468,610 in lost revenue if they lost all their data files.
2. There Are Also Non-Financial Impacts of Data Loss. Impacts of data loss on employees include impaired work-life balance, low morale, micromanagement in the IT department, layoffs or firings, and the departure of good employees.
3. Small Businesses Are Ignoring Data Security Risks. Survey responses revealed that IT professionals at SMBs could be underestimating the risk of outsiders exploiting vulnerabilities in their systems and stealing data. Nearly half do not encrypt all of their data. And most IT pros at small businesses pooh-poohed the risk of an outside threat, calling one only “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely.” But 22 percent see the threat as either “very” or “somewhat” likely.
4. Data Backup is Underutilized. Only one-third of respondents had completed a backup the day they were surveyed. Nearly half had backed up all of their business’ documents and files within the past week, and 15 percent admitted that their most recent backup was up to a month old.
5. Backing Up Online and to the Cloud. Those who do back up electronically back up company data than those using other methods. Nearly two-thirds say they back up anywhere from three-fourths to all of their documents and files, and another 22 percent back up between half and three-fourths of them. Only 15 percent of those who use electronic backup do so for less than half of their documents and files.
Carbonite, which provides these tips, is one among many data backup services available to small business owners. We’ve written about several of them for you to check out: