Four million UK businesses vulnerable to losing company data

Far too many businesses are at risk of losing their company data because they either don't back it up or they keep electronic copies in the same location as the original data.

Almost a million UK businesses do not back up their company data, according to new research.

Worryingly, a further 2.8 million firms risk losing valuable information by storing electronic copies in the same location as the original data, say Beaming, the business ISP.

Beaming’s survey of business leaders, undertaken by the research company Opinium, shows that while most (83 percent) of UK firms back up their data, half save it to servers or storage devices in the same premises.

A substantial 44 percent of small businesses, 42 percent of medium-sized firms and 34 percent of large organisations currently store backed-up information in the same location as it is generated, leaving them vulnerable to data loss through theft, fire or malware attack.

On top of that, 17 percent of businesses keep no data back-ups whatsoever and store information only on individual computers and employee devices. Sole traders and micro companies employing less than 10 people are most likely to be guilty of not backing up their data.

Only a third (35 percent) of UK businesses currently store their back-up data to outside of the office. Of that, 15 percent of sole traders and 13 percent of micro businesses back-up their data to cloud storage services from companies such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon.

Almost a quarter (24 percent) of small and 18 percent of medium-sized businesses require employees to physically take back-ups of data home on portable storage devices. Meanwhile, 33 percent of large and 32 percent of medium-sized companies copy data to their own servers located in dedicated data centres or co-location facilities.

The ’30-mile’ recommendation

Less than a fifth (18 percent) of businesses currently back-up their data to facilities located at least 30 miles from their own premises, the minimum distance recommended by business continuity experts to limit the IT impact of natural disasters.

Most of the companies adhering the ‘30 mile rule’ are using cloud-based storage services and do not know precisely where their data is held.

Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, says that most businesses – particularly at the smaller end – don’t do enough to safeguard their information,

‘The introduction of GDPR has highlighted the need for secure and resilient data storage in order to mitigate the risk of significant data loss,’ she says.

‘We’d encourage businesses to think seriously about private cloud or co-location services when it comes to storing highly sensitive data or mission critical applications. These should only be accessed through the most secure forms of connectivity.’

Further reading on company data

The best ways to ensure your company’s data safety

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.