A worrying 60 per cent of respondents surveyed by City Lifeline at this year’s IP Expo have lost access to the company’s IT system following an unexpected incident.
The resulting unplanned downtime lasted for more than six hours for 40 per cent of the firms surveyed, leaving employees struggling to access essential business data, run operations or communicate with customers.
Unplanned downtime can have serious financial repercussions. Whether caused by equipment failure, a cyber-attack or something as mundane as road works cutting through a power line, studies show that the loss of access to data and electronic communication systems costs SMEs on average around £7,500 a day in lost business and productivity: ranging from £1,800 for micro-businesses to £14,000 a day for mid-sized enterprises.
In a worst case scenario the lost data can never be recovered. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, 90 per cent of SMEs that lose data following a major incident are forced to shut within two years. Yet research shows that less than half of SMEs bother to back up data every week, and a mere 23 per cent back up daily.
“SMEs are by their nature more vulnerable to the impact of data loss,” said Roger Keenan, managing director at City Lifeline. “Our survey reveals just how many small and medium-sized companies have experienced an IT failure – and for around two thirds of respondents, the resulting downtime lasted for at least half a day. Six hours of downtime effectively amounts to a lost working day. This inevitably means reduced productivity, missed business and unhappy customers and suppliers, something many smaller firms simply cannot afford.”
“It is vital that SMEs make sure important files are saved not only on an external hard drive but in a safe and secure offsite location. Colocation data centres are created to avoid disasters or at least able to cope with them protecting the equipment and servers hosted inside. Most importantly, they are designed to protect a business’ critical IT systems,” he added.