Data Loss Impacts Half of Small Businesses: Survey

The top causes of small business data loss include hardware/software failure and accidental deletion.

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Data loss continues to be prominent among small businesses, found a survey conducted by Carbonite, a provider of online backup solutions. According to the study, which took place in April 2011, 48 percent of American small businesses with between two and 20 employees have experienced data loss, up from 42 percent when Carbonite surveyed small businesses in December 2010.

Carbonite surveyed more than 125 small businesses with between two and 20 employees to study their disaster recovery and data backup methods.

The top causes of small business' data loss include hardware/software failure (54 percent), accidental deletion (54 percent), computer viruses (33 percent) and theft (10 percent). Although 31 percent of small business owners surveyed agree that backing up their company's computers is a hassle that takes time away from running their business, the research indicated that physical devices are the most prominent backup methods used by small businesses. Specifically, external hard drives (41 percent), CDs/DVDs (36 percent) and USB/flash memory sticks (36 percent) were reported as the three most popular ways SMBs back up data.

While many SMBs recognize that online backup solutions offer significant advantages over traditional physical-device backups-such as being automatic, continuous, offsite and requiring no extra equipment-the research indicates that for those who do not back up to the cloud, the No. 1 reason is cost. In response to SMB concerns over cost, Carbonite last month announced the availability of Carbonite Business, which provides a flat-rate pricing plan for small businesses, starting at $229 annually for an unlimited number of computers.

"We know from our experience working with small businesses over the past five years that they need an affordable, flat-fee pricing model," said Peter Lamson, general manager of small business for Carbonite. "Too many online backup providers have priced online backup at a level that is simply not appropriate for the way SMBs budget. At Carbonite, SMB is in our DNA, so we worked diligently to develop a solution that now allows small businesses to enjoy the superior protection of Carbonite's online backup protection, at a price that makes good business sense."

Carbonite Business backs up an unlimited number of computers for a flat fee of $229 per year (with 250GB of storage included). Carbonite Business Premier backs up an unlimited number of computers and servers (with 500GB of storage included) for $599 per year. Businesses can also add supplemental storage packs as their backup needs grow.