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Half of UK Businesses Have Data at Risk

A new study has shown that around four million businesses in the UK could be putting their valuable data at risk due to poor or non-existent backup policies.

The survey was conducted by business internet provider Beaming, polling 514 UK businesses leaders to assess their data backup practices. They found that too many companies weren’t following best practices for protecting data against malicious attacks or hardware data, meaning their data wasn’t secure from loss.

The result showed that 17% of respondents don’t back up their data in any way. The only copy they have of their data is the system that it was created on. As you might expect, the majority of these folk are from sole traders and small businesses. Of those two groups, 20% and 10% respectively say they have no backups. When you move up to medium businesses, that figure shrinks to 2% of respondents.

It's understandable that small business struggle with this. They likely don’t have the financial or human resource to implement a solution, even if they’re aware it’s needed. Nevertheless, it needs to be prioritised. Not backing up data is a huge risk – consider the impact of losing everything that your business stores digitally, with no way of getting it back. Could your business recover from that? It would be more effective to back up and see it as an insurance cost.

50% of respondents said that they keep their backups on a separate system, which is great, but within the same building. That’s less great. Disaster recovery is all about replicating your data in different mediums and different locations. If your office is burnt down or is broken into or any other sort of disaster, all of your data could still be destroyed in one fell swoop.

The figure remained pretty consistent across all sizes of businesses. Even 30% of large companies, with at least 250 employees, said they didn’t back up to an offsite location. It goes against advice from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), who says that backups shouldn’t be accessible by staff, connected to the source system, or in the same physical location.

“Our research shows that almost four million UK businesses are vulnerable to data loss from single events and could potentially become unable to operate. Most businesses, particularly at the smaller end, don't do enough to safeguard their information,” said Sonia Blizzard, Beaming's managing director.

Offsite backup is important, but the method used by companies varies on their size. Sole traders and very small businesses usually opt for a cloud solution, while larger companies go for external data centres.

The NCSC says that the cloud is an easy and useful solution. For those respondents who aren’t backing up offsite, it’s a simple first step to solving that.

“Many off-the-shelf backup solutions are easy to set up, and are affordable considering the business-critical protection they offer. When choosing a solution, you'll also have to consider how much data you need to back up, and how quickly you need to be able to access the data following any incident,” states the NCSC guidelines.


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