Over 50% of UK Businesses Are Risking Their Data

17 Dec 2018

Data loss statistics – over 50% of UK Businesses are risking their data – are you one of them?

When we look the statistics for actual and potential business data loss in the UK, it really hits home how many UK businesses face the very real prospect of losing reputation, customers and income – simply by overlooking the risks, and the impact, of data loss. Here we examine the risks and implications of data loss, and how simple it is to protect against them.

Disaster recovery statistics

A study of over 500 UK businesses, conducted by business internet provider Beaming, revealed some pretty shocking numbers on data backup and data loss. For example, it seems well over half of UK businesses risk losing critical data. That’s nearly four million businesses putting their very existence in danger by having inadequate backup strategies – or, in a staggering 17 per cent of cases (that’s nearly 700,000), no strategy at all. Blimey!

Look into it further, and disaster recovery statistics for UK businesses are consistently scary. They also make it clear just how many businesses don’t have a handle on how vulnerable they really are. Interestingly, the figures Beaming and others present on small business data loss show that sole traders and businesses of fewer than 10 people are the worst ‘offenders’. Up to 20 per cent of sole traders, for example, admit to not backing up at all, while this drops to just two per cent of businesses with between 50 and 249 employees. That said, nearly half of all respondents to Beaming’s survey indicated having no off-site or cloud back-up strategy in place – opting for only an on-site approach.

What causes data loss?

There are many reasons for business data loss, and they extend way beyond hardware and systems failures. We need to also consider simple human error, software corruption, and malware and ransomware viruses. Data loss statistics suggest around half of hard drives fail within five years, while figures from business2community put 44 per cent of business data loss down to accidental deletion, system crashes or software issues. They also suggest that 11 per cent of data loss is caused by human error, 14 per cent by virus attacks, and 35 per cent by malware virus ‘infections’. The underlying message here is that a robust and reliable backup strategy must factor in multiple causes to be effective against data loss. This is especially important when we consider that over a third of lost data is, or includes, customer information and financial information, which can be hugely damaging to business continuity, reputation and income.

In summary, the most common ways by which data is lost are:

  • Hardware or system malfunction – almost 50 per cent
  • Accidental deletion – around a third
  • Software corruption – approximately 17 per cent

The key takeaway here is that while there are things we can do to prevent them, all of the above are likely to play a part – we just don’t know when, or to what extent. The only way to protect against the knock-on effects is to have a fully fit-for-purpose backup strategy.

The cost of data loss

It’s perhaps hard to gauge the financial cost of data loss, but knowing that it caused £10.5 billion in lost revenue for UK businesses in 2014 suggests the best policy for data loss prevention is to plan for the worst-case scenario. And if you want a real-life scenario instead of stats, Uber recently agreed to pay £133million to settle all legal action over a 2016 cyber attack that exposed data from 57 million customers and drivers. Meanwhile, a cyber-attack on TalkTalk in 2015 triggered a £400,000 fine for security failings that saw 157,000 customers’ personal data going AWOL. Of course, the big players can maybe take the hit, but they’d prefer not to have to. For the majority of businesses, taking the hit isn’t an option, which is why as many as seven of ten small firms that experience major data loss go out of business within a year. There are also the less quantifiable effects, such as loss of reputation and staff morale.

Data loss prevention

Considering all the ways data loss can affect a business, it’s good to know there’s an excellent choice of ways to prevent it. Depending on the size and nature of your business, truly effective data loss prevention can take many forms. A simple and relatively inexpensive way to (compared to the potential cost of losing data) is to invest in cloud-based data loss prevention that matches how your business collects, creates and stores its data. Such solutions are ideal for small business data backup. You might also consider an off-site data back up strategy to protect against power outages and/or on-site hardware failures.

Whichever you opt for, it should be the foundation of a comprehensive data recovery plan – part of your business continuity and disaster recovery strategies.

About BackupVault

Backup Vault provides fully automated, hassle-free, UK-based backup services to organisations all over the world – from small business to global brands, to public-sector clients and large corporate enterprises.