Small businesses still losing data despite warnings to backup

Deploying a backup solution will not prevent users from losing data. Over the last year, nearly one-third of respondents experienced data loss.

Most businesses and consumers now routinely make complete and comprehensive backups of their data), according to the latest customer survey by Kroll Ontrack.

The survey results highlight growing popularity of cloud-based backups as around twice as many users (about 33 per cent) as last year report they make backups online. However, despite growing use of digital solutions tape backup is also experiencing a surge in popularity: 17 per cent of businesses and consumers back up their data on tape, up from about eight per cent in 2016.

Yet despite growing use of various backup solutions, around one third of the 1,000 surveyed customers in North America, Europe and Australia reported experiencing data loss.

It is striking that, of the respondents who lost data, only 35 per cent did not have a (current) backup. The majority of companies who experienced data loss did have a backup solution in place at the time of the incident. A quarter of respondents also report that their backup failed to work properly.

Of the users who experienced data loss and had access to a backup, 67 per cent said they were able to restore almost all their data, while another 13 per cent were able to restore up to three quarters. A tenth (12 per cent) report that the backup was corrupted. Just under three per cent were able to restore only a small proportion of their data.

One explanation for losing data despite having a backup solution in place could be the system used. For example, important data can easily be lost if relevant devices are unintentionally omitted from backup procedures. To ensure there is no oversight, users should ensure relevant mobile media such as phones or notebooks are connected to a backup server.

Of users reporting that they have no backup solution in place only around seven per cent believe their data is secure without a backup. When asked why they chose to forego a backup solution, around 14 per cent of respondents worldwide said the quest for the right backup solution and the expense of managing the solution once installed, entailed too much work.

The study also showed that three-quarters of all backups are performed unencrypted. Compared to the United Kingdom, where nearly half of survey respondents encrypt their backups, respondents in the US (around 34 per cent) perform relatively poorly.

In the UK, 63 per cent of respondents said they back up daily, compared to 44 per cent of survey respondents based in other countries. More than 18 per cent of respondents back up their data once per week, and almost 16 per cent once per month. Only around four per cent said they back up data only once annually.

When asked about how frequently respondents test backups to make sure they’re properly set up, 24 per cent of respondents admit to never testing backups; the same percentage of respondents said they test backups at least once per week. A third (30 per cent) test backups once per month and just under 14 per cent once per year.

Further reading on data

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