We have conducted a new survey that reveals how small to medium-sized businesses are losing critical business information as a result of failed backups, and have suffered significant impacts as a result.  Many IT admins surveyed revealed that a failed backup has led to a loss of revenue and important company documents, including financial records, employee emails and confidential information such as social security numbers. As a result, respondents indicated that failed backups have affected customer relations, business operations and brand reputation.

The independent, blind survey of 200 IT administrators who work at U.S. organizations with fewer than 150 employees was conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of GFI Software™. The survey results highlight the backup behaviors of IT administrators, including methods of managing data backup, the frequency and speed of data backup and the impacts of a failed backup.

Managing data backup

One way to prevent data loss is to back up critical business files on a daily basis. However, more than half (53%) of the organizations surveyed revealed they do not conduct daily backups.  IT admins indicated the biggest reason for not backing up data every day is that it’s not an efficient use of their time, according to nearly one-third (32%) of respondents. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of IT admins said backing up data that frequently is “not necessary” or that there’s “not much data” to backup. In direct contrast, 10% of IT admins said the biggest reason for do not conducting a daily backup is because they have too much data. Other respondents suggested they do not conduct backups every day because they lack the resources, efficient technology or sufficient storage space. Some respondents – including 75% of those who work at organizations with 50-99 employees – said daily backups are disruptive to workplace productivity.

The need for speed

When asked how their current data backup processes could be improved, the number one factor cited was speed, with half of respondents indicating they wish their current backup processes were faster or more efficient. Other factors included cost (14%), security (6%) and reliability (5%), while an additional 6% said they wish their organization’s data backup processes were managed by a third-party.

Cloud concerns

Nearly two-thirds of organizations are not managing their data backup through the cloud, instead they are relying upon on-premise or virtual data backup solutions.  Respondents cited cost, security and reliability as top concerns with a cloud-based backup solution. Others suggested they prefer to have complete control over their data backup, while some indicated they were still considering their backup options. One in ten organizations relies upon a hybrid approach to data backup. One IT admin indicated cloud-based backup is only part of the solution. “We still recommend a physical backup because of a possible internet outage.”

Data loss

In order to protect critical information, companies need to regularly test their backup solutions to ensure they work properly. However, nearly one-third (32%) of IT administrators surveyed revealed their organizations do not conduct such tests. The healthcare industry is among the most lax, with two-thirds of respondents revealing they do not test their backup solutions for effectiveness. Perhaps not coincidentally, two-thirds of respondents in the healthcare industry revealed their organization has experienced a data loss. Other industries in which a high percentage of companies do not test the effectiveness of their backup solutions include: sales, media and marketing (63%) and architecture, engineering and building (56%).

Data recovery

Successful data backup is critical. But equally, if not more important, is the ability to recover that data when needed. While only 6% of respondents rely on daily data recovery, one in five respondents indicated they need to recover their data on at least a weekly basis.  Additionally, nearly three-quarters (74%) of IT admins said they recover their data at least once every six months.

Those respondents who indicated they were not able to recover data due to a failed backup cited loss of revenue and critical business documents as the biggest impacts on their business. Other IT admins said their organizations suffered the following consequences:

  • The loss of data “caused weeks of problems with clients.”
  • “We lost records pertinent to our organization that were unable to be duplicated and had to be reinvented.”
  • The impact of the data loss was “…huge, in terms of meeting deadlines and productivity.”

See more survey results here

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