Data Loss Poses Huge Risks for Small Businesses: BUMI

Virtualization is playing a bigger role in helping SMBs back up and store data, but most are woefully unprepared for data loss.

It's bad enough when you can't find that email attachment or Excel file you need, but scale data loss up to a companywide level and the results are nothing short of intolerable, a survey of 104 small to midsize business (SMB) CEOs, business owners and IT professionals indicates. The survey, conducted by data backup and recovery solutions specialist Backup My Info (BUMI), found that 98 percent of respondents feel that more than one day to restore data after an incident is unacceptable.

Despite the overwhelming majority of respondents who said they can't run their business without access to critical data, the survey found almost a quarter of respondents do not regularly check the restore process of their data backup operations, and a large number of organizations test their restore process infrequently if at all, with almost a quarter (24 percent) of respondents never conducting backup tests and 17 percent running a test just once a year.

The survey found less than 1 percent of SMBs queried test on a daily basis; however, that number rises to 12 percent for weekly tests, 19 percent for monthly tests and 27 percent for quarterly review of the backup and restore systems.

Worryingly, even though respondents say data loss is a major concern, 36 percent of respondents said they have no idea how much an hour of downtime costs their organizations. Of those who said they do have an idea of the cost, 31 percent pegged the figure at thousands of dollars per hour, 26 percent valued the cost at hundreds of dollars, 6 percent at hundreds of thousands of dollars, and less than 1 percent at 1 million dollars or more.

Business continuity was cited by 30 percent of respondents as the most important aspect when backing up their data, while 20 percent ranked disaster recovery as the top priority€”the same percentage ranked compliance as the top consideration. Security, cited by 16 percent as a top concern, and redundancy (13 percent) were the other major considerations SMB decision-makers had concerning the backup process. The role of virtualization in SMB data backup shows signs of increasing, with 41 percent saying they already use virtualization and 31 percent planning to in the near future.

"Backing up your data is only the first step in protecting your organization. What really counts is how quickly and effectively you can recover your information," BUMI CEO Jennifer Walzer said in prepared remarks. "A common misconception is that once backups are put into place, you're all set. Unfortunately, data backup is not a flawless process. Glitches occur and hardware fails. It's important to routinely test backups so that you can catch problems before they become disasters, but most organizations just don't have the time or resources."