Big gaps in backup plans

Small businesses are using a variety of technologies to back up data including some antiquated methods that leave the backup process incomplete and susceptible to information loss, according to Carbonite.

These technologies include external hard drives, USB/flash drives and CDs/DVDs. The data further revealed many businesses are using a combination of these antiquated technologies, which can make backing up even more complex and compound their risk for data loss. Such methods must be monitored manually and very frequently to ensure that the backups are current and protected.

When multiple methods of backup are used, each must be managed, and careful records of where backed up data is stored needs to be maintained and checked to ensure the backup is complete.

Despite known risks, small businesses continue to choose a range of risky and unreliable technologies:

Hard drives are proven to fail: 50 percent use external hard drives, yet 20 percent backing up their business data indicated they started to do so because of a hard drive failure.

USB/flash drives are already unreliable: 42 percent use USB/flash drives primarily because it is perceived as easy, yet only 6 percent believe USB/flash drives to actually be reliable.

CDs/DVDs are inconvenient and risky: More than one-third use CDs/DVD drives to backup data, even though 62 percent feel they are inconvenient or risky.

“Although many small businesses are backing up their data, they’re using antiquated methods, such as USB/flash drives or CDs, which leave huge gaps and vulnerabilities. These simple solutions may be relatively easy to set up, but they require ongoing supervision to ensure they are performing, and can distract from other work,” said Peter Lamson, senior vice president of small business for Carbonite.

“Small businesses are creating new, priceless data every minute of every day and they can’t afford to be unprotected. Low cost, automated and easy to use methods are now mainstream, so there’s no reason for small businesses to be spending time manually managing backups, when they could spend that valuable time focused on their business instead,” Lamson continued.

Small businesses stay competitive by keeping costs down, but when it comes to backup, cutting costs may mean using products with limited coverage and leaving SMB data at risk. Carbonite research found:

  • Twenty-one percent of small businesses using online backup were using a free product. Since free online backup services are typically capped at two gigabytes, small businesses using these methods could be vulnerable to data loss.
  • Some small businesses already recognize the limitations of USB/flash drives, which are often considered low-cost. Twenty-four percent of small businesses using this method noted USB/flash drives do not work well for backup specifically because they have limited storage space.

When it comes to the time invested in and the tech support used for backing up, 22 percent of small businesses surveyed even pay for outside tech assistance. Notably, 40 percent of those who manage the process in-house spend more than an hour per week backing up their company data – with six percent spending more than five hours per week.

Both approaches indicate that small businesses are losing time and money to support backup strategies that do not match their needs, especially since there are a number of online, automated backup services available that cut these expenses and eliminate time spent on this task.

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