Two-thirds of UK businesses risk data loss by relying on consumer storage

IT managers’ lack of data storage best practice is putting many small and medium-sized businesses at risk of data loss, according to an independent survey of 500 UK businesses commissioned by Buffalo Technology and conducted by Growing Business.

90 per cent of participants recognise the damaging effect that lost data could have on their business, but despite this, 62 per cent of SMBs are backing up critical business data only to external hard-drives, which are designed for consumer desktop storage and don’t offer any redundancy function of their own. Even more alarmingly, 45 per cent of small businesses backup sensitive information to portable USB sticks and CD media, which are very easy to lose or suffer damage.

Frank Jennings, cloud and data security lawyer and chair of the Cloud Industry Forum’s code governance board, commented: “Businesses consistently rank data security as one of their key concerns and implementing best practice is an important part of achieving this. Discovering that data backups have failed because you have chosen the wrong device or process is a futile exercise; businesses need to take steps to ensure that their backup process is reliable, secure and, of course, successful.”

Just 10 per cent of small businesses interviewed reported that they use networked storage (NAS) devices, which offer robust storage with redundancy and scalability built in, which means if a backup fails, data can still be restored to a point in time. NAS technology provides enterprise-grade data storage, although the low usage within small and mid-size businesses indicates a lack of informed decision making in IT. In fact, the survey found less than a third of the respondents interviewed actually refer to an IT specialist before making important data storage decisions, which could potentially make or break their business.

Paul Hudson, Sales Director for Northern Europe at Buffalo Technology, says: “UK IT managers realise the importance of data storage, but they need guidance on the risks involved with using simple storage devices that are designed for consumer use, but don’t cut it when it comes to daily mass storage business use.

“Networked storage doesn’t have to be more expensive than removable devices. Companies should consider the financial and business benefits of multiple employees accessing centralised storage, rather than each individual using multiple storage devices. Furthermore, failing to backup corporate data to a networked NAS device, rather than removable media devices, leaves the company at much higher risk of data loss, leakage and hacking,” continues Hudson.