58% of C-level executives at small and medium businesses (SMBs) said their biggest data storage challenge is security vulnerability, according to Infrascale.
The research, conducted in March 2020, is based on a survey of more than 500 C-level executives. CEOs represented 87% of the group. Almost all of the remainder was split between CIOs and CTOs.
“Our research indicates that 21% of SMBs do not have data protection solutions in place,” said Russell P. Reeder, CEO of Infrascale. “That’s a problem, because every modern company depends on data and operational uptime for its very survival. And this has never been more important than during the unprecedented times we are currently facing.”
Data protection means different things to different people
Certain aspects of data protection are more important than others depending upon an individual’s unique experiences and position. But data protection clearly delivers significant value from many vantage points.
When asked what data protection means to them, 61% of the survey group named data security and encryption. The same share said data backup. Nearly as many (59%) defined data protection as data recovery, while 54% cited anti-malware services.
Forty-six percent said data protection addresses email protection. Data archiving and the ability to become operational quickly after a disaster each captured 45% of the survey group’s vote.
Meanwhile, 44% of the group said data protection means ransomware protection/mitigation. The same share named physical device protection for endpoints such as laptops and mobile phones. And 32% said that for them data protection involves processes that prevent user error.
“Data protection can come into play in a wide array of important ways – including data security and encryption, data recovery, email protection and data archiving. It also provides the ability to recover quickly from a disaster, protection from and mitigation of ransomware, and physical device protection. Plus, it can prevent user error,” said Reeder.
“All of the above are valuable for businesses. These benefits contribute to the success of many businesses today, and implementing data protection to these ends will better position organizations for the future.”
Opinions about data protection vary by industry as well
The research suggests there is significant variation in what top executives from different sectors consider the most important aspects of data protection.
On the legal space, 89% of executives said data protection provides data security and encryption. Seventy-one percent of the top leaders in the healthcare sector agreed. Data security and encryption was the top answer among retail/ecommerce and telecommunications leaders as well, although with lower shares – 67% and 52%, respectively.
Top executives in education see data backup and data recovery as the most important aspects of data protection. Sixty-one percent of this group said they hold this belief. For 57% of the top leaders in accounting, banking or finance, data backup is the key concern in data protection.
Cyberattacks are SMB leaders’ top overall data protection concern
The overall survey group said cyberattacks are the biggest data protection issue their companies are facing. Nearly half (49%) of the group voiced their concern about hacking.
Micro disasters such as corrupted hard drives and malware infections were the second most commonly indicated concern, garnering a 46% share from the group. System crashes (41%), data leaks (39%), ransomware attacks (38%), and human errors (38%) were next on the list.
There was some variation in sector response here as well. Top leaders in education (64%), telecommunications (63%) and healthcare (54%) said that micro disasters are their biggest data protection issues.
But more than half of the survey respondents in both the retail (54%) and financial sectors (53%) said cyberattacks such as ransomware are their leading data protection challenges.
“Cyberattacks like ransomware are a major challenge for businesses today,” said Reeder. “But organizations can put defensive measures in place to lower their susceptibility to attack.”
Most SMBs have data protection in place, but those that don’t remain unprotected
Views about data protection definitions – and what is most important to the protection of SMB data – may vary. But most SMBs clearly believe it is important to have a data protection and/or backup and disaster recovery solution in place, as 79% of the survey group said they already do.
However, while the majority has taken steps to protect data, the remainder – which represents a significant share at 21% – clearly has not. And 13% of SMB C-level executives said they do not have any data protection strategy in place. That leaves these businesses vulnerable.
“Each organization is different,” said Reeder. “But one thing all businesses have in common is a desire to eradicate downtime and data loss. Organizations can and should protect their data, and their businesses as a whole, by enabling comprehensive data protection with modern backup and disaster recovery solutions and strategies.”