UK Small Businesses Risking Disaster Warns BT

Less than 20 per cent of UK small businesses backup their data remotely, even though 82 per cent admit they could not function without it, according to research from BT.

Despite the importance of electronic data, only 11 per cent of 394 companies polled*, believed data backup was one of their biggest IT priorities, according to research carried out in association with the Institute of Directors. The research was done in preparation for a series of events around the UK to help small businesses with IT systems.

Using tape and CD were the most popular means of backing up data, but these remain on site and rely on staff to initiate the process. This can result in staff forgetting to backup regularly. The study found that this problem is made more acute as owners with limited technological knowledge, who are responsible for IT systems in 40 per cent of small businesses, do not necessarily employ the best solution. And backup tapes kept on site can be easily corrupted should a disaster such as a flood or fire strike.

The latest backup services run over broadband and allow users to automate their processes and easily store copies of their data remotely. This means that backup is never forgotten and that data can be retrieved from any location should a problem occur.

Professor Jim Norton, Senior Policy Adviser at the IoD, said: “For smaller businesses in particular, the owner/manager is in charge of IT. As a result, things like backing up data are way down the list of priorities and are often seen as chores. This is because traditional backup methods, like tape or CD are often time consuming. But times have changed, and backup now requires little or no input from users.”

Mick Hegarty, general manager, Broadband and VoIP at BT Business, said: “For businesses, broadband isn’t about speed anymore, the focus has moved to what businesses can do with that speed. “With businesses increasingly dependent on information in their day-to-day operations it is crucial that companies store their critical business data off site. Broadband allows the essential data companies hold on their systems to be quickly and cost-effectively stored in secure remote servers and easily retrieved should disaster strike.”