Small Businesses Lack Adequate Data Protection Plans

When it comes to data backup and disaster recovery, a worryingly high number of small businesses believe their company’s plans fall short.

Data protection and disaster recovery planning is a priority but remains a challenge for many small to misize businesses (SMBs), according to the results of a recent survey of more than 1,000 SMB IT professionals by software developer Spiceworks.

The survey, sponsored by online backup specialist Carbonite, found slightly less than half (45 percent) of respondents said their organization had experienced a data loss, costing an average of nearly $9,000 in recovery fees. Of those, 54 percent said the data loss was due to a hardware failure. The survey found SMBs spend an average of $5,700 each year to manage data backup and recovery environments, and while the majority of respondents (70 percent) said they are satisfied with current backup methods, nearly one-third (30 percent) believe their approaches and technologies are insufficient.

"While small and mid-sized businesses recognize the importance of having a data protection and recovery plan, many are using on-premise hardware that leaves them vulnerable to data loss from device failure, performing manual backups infrequently or on-premise problems that affect both the original copy and backups, such as power surges, natural disasters or theft," Piyum Samaraweera, director of product management at Carbonite, said in a statement. "Cloud backup solutions are an affordable alternative that are simple to manage, secure and reliable, and easily scalable as a business grows."

When it comes to disaster recovery, a worryingly high number of SMBs (42 percent) believe their company’s plans fall short. Furthermore, only 30 percent think all information would be recoverable in the event of a disaster. Reliability and security are the top two priorities for SMBs considering hosted backup solutions. Of those currently using or planning to implement a private, hybrid or public cloud backup platform, 77 percent prefer a private or hybrid approach while 23 percent favor a public cloud offering.

Currently, the top technology used by midmarket companies to back up information is direct-attached storage (DAS), with approximately 60 percent using a form of this approach. However, the survey indicated hosted or cloud-based backup and recovery offerings have gained a footing among SMBs. The report found 30 percent of SMBs use hosted solutions and 14 percent plan to invest in a hosted offering within the next year.

"Data is the lifeblood of any business – big or small," Deni Connor, founding analyst of IT analytics firm Storage Strategies Now, said in a statement. "The opportunity to provide small and mid-sized businesses with better and more cost-effective ways to protect and recover data is huge. While these companies may have smaller IT staffs, they collectively account for a significant portion of the total backup and recovery market."