A third of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) allow employees to select their own method of backup for their data at work, essentially passing the buck when it comes to data protection, according to the findings of a survey conducted by online backup service provider Mozy.
The corresponding report noted that the tendency for small businesses to let employees choose their backup methods was of concern because companies that dont provide formal policies rely instead on uncoordinated backup practices that can leave business owners susceptible to significant risks in the event of data loss.
The Mozy survey of more than 640 SMBs was conducted by independent research firm Compass Partners to identify employees and executives habits and attitudes about backup and data security, with survey participants including professionals in the financial, real estate, medical, construction and legal industries. The survey found that a significant number of SMBs dont implement safe backup strategiesdespite well-documented risks for loss of sensitive client and company data. The survey found 60 percent of companies surveyed do not budget for any form of backup, and only 15 percent of SMBs use remote, automatic online backup.
Of those businesses that do data backups regularly, the survey found the most prevalent methods are those that can most easily be lost, stolen, deleted or destroyedsuch as external hard drives (53 percent use them) without some type of online backup connection, company servers (36 percent) and USB thumb drives (31 percent). In addition, 10 percent of professionals surveyed say they email themselves copies of documents as one form of backup.
The reality is that businesses often ignore backup options until after they have suffered the consequences of data loss, said Mozy general manager Russ Stockdale. With World Backup Day this weekend, it provides a timely reminder that professionals need to take steps to implement companywide backup policies and practices that ensure business and client data are protected.
Across all industries, risky behavior surrounding sensitive data protection is common, the survey found, and when data is lost, it is rarely recovered. In the last year, nearly 50 percent of all businesses surveyed reported that an employees hard drive had crashed, and in 72 percent of the cases, data was not fully recovered.
Professionals should take the following steps to implement backup practices, Stockdale explained. First, find a secure and reliable cloud service to complement a local backup device, which by itself can easily be destroyed, damaged or misplaced. Second, the off-site service chosen should automatically back up data, be user-friendly and should emphasize data security and privacy through a strong encryption method. Finally, companies should extend backup policies to include strategies for protecting the data on mobile devices, as analysts predict a surge in employees using personal smartphones or tablets for business purposes throughout 2012.