Data loss is a real threat to many UK businesses, more so in times of economic instability. Larger businesses habitually protect their data in order to avoid costly downtime and irreparable damage caused by IT disasters. However, it is the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who are all too often found to be ill informed and under-prepared for the risks of data loss. This is particularly worrying when you consider that SMEs are inherently more susceptible to catastrophic financial ramifications in the event of significant data loss.
A recent study by Insight UK found that close to 30% of SMEs are not safeguarding essential data against loss, corruption or theft. The reasons given by UK businesses were diverse, with a slim majority citing a lack of time as the major factor. Others were discouraged by a perceived lack of security in online data protection solutions. A minority were also leaving their data exposed simply because of an assumed complexity in the backup process. A number of SMEs who had not protected their data were, apparently, unconcerned by the risks.
The research was commissioned by hardware storage manufacturer Buffalo Technology and a spokesman for the firm, Paul Hudson, offered an explanation for the statistics. Hudson believes that many of these issues stem from a lack of understanding of the benefits of data storage and the associated risks. He also believes that in the current climate, data protection firms need to build trust and confidence within their existing clients in order to gain the trust of the wider market.
The research also revealed that the 30% data protection deficit amongst UK businesses could be addressed. 46% of those queried were in favour of automated data backup, whilst a further 23% would be attracted to a simple and efficient service. In some ways, the data risk is analogous to the recent postal strikes and service disruption in London. Like a damaged postal network, data loss could easily scupper vulnerable businesses. However, unlike the Royal Mail issue, this is something over which businesses have control.