Cost of data loss is 200,000 annually, study finds

A report into the average costs of data loss to small and medium-sized UK businesses (SMBs) has concluded that each has spent the equivalent of 200,000 in the past 12 months.

Over 2000 SMBs from the EU and further afield in Asia and Africa took part in the survey conducted by Symantec and it found that in excess of 66 per cent of respondents consider data loss as the most significant threat facing their enterprises in the current climate.

Although this highlights the severity of the risks associated with data loss, it does suggest that many more businesses are willing to accept these risks and more importantly understand that there is a great weight or responsibility imposed by storing private data in the first place. In previous years the survey has been unable to reach such a tentatively positive conclusion.

In the 2010 SMB Information Protection Survey various areas of data protection were covered and the growth of smartphone usage was tackled, with 28 per cent of respondents confirming that their multitasking mobiles were password protected, suggesting that this is a weakness that could be easily exploited by malicious third parties.

Business continuity planning was also taken into account in the survey and only 18 per cent of respondents said that their own internal contingency plans were rated between good and excellent, which suggests there is still a lack of understanding in this area.

Attacks on data storage and IT systems over the past twelve months were noted by 77 per cent of those questioned, whilst a quarter of respondents said that these attacks had serious ramifications.

The financial impact of these attacks on some of the smaller businesses is clearly significant, with the total averaging at 202,000 for each and every respondent. 52 per cent of those who registered data loss in the past year said that it had occurred as a result of theft.

UK security expert Ross Walker said SMBs were waking up to the problems facing them because of the rise in data loss and cyber attacks. He also pointed out that protecting data stored on smartphones would have to become a priority if further scandals and embarrassment are to be avoided.

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