Loss of data ranks as a "worst nightmare" for businesses of any size, but for players in the SMB space data loss can be especially catastrophic. SMBs often operate on the narrowest of margins and with the tightest of deadlines, meaning that even as little as a few hours spent without access to critical data, or trying to retrieve it, can have a serious negative impact on the bottom line.
According to data collected in April 2011 from online backup solutions provider Carbonite, 48% of American small businesses with between two and 20 employees had experienced data loss, up more than 10% from 42% when Carbonite surveyed small businesses just four months earlier in December 2010. The top causes of small business' data loss included hardware/software failure (54%), accidental deletion (54%), computer viruses (33%) and theft (10%).
Physical Backup Devices PrevailAlthough 31% of small business owners surveyed agreed that backing up their company's computers is a hassle that takes time away from running their business, Carbonite research indicated that physical devices were the most prominent backup methods used by small businesses. Specifically, external hard drives (41%), CDs/DVDs (36%) and USB/flash memory sticks (36%) were reported as the three most popular ways SMBs back up data.
Fear of newer, online and cloud-based backup systems and procedures is not causing this dependence on physical data backup, either. Survey data indicates that while many SMBs recognize that online backup solutions offer significant advantages to traditional physical-device backups, such as being automatic, continuous, offsite and requiring no extra equipment, those who do not backup to the cloud cited cost as the number one factor in their decision.
Parting the Clouds around SMB Data BackupThe survey data covers the smallest of SMBs, and is used as part of pitch for Carbonite's automated data backup technology, so naturally MSPs cannot bank on the literal results as a sign of a burgeoning market. However, the data does show a general need for improved data backup for smaller businesses, and any MSP familiar with the SMB market knows that usually even companies at the larger end of the SMB spectrum have more in common with their smaller brethren than their larger competitors. Thus it is logical to assume the SMB market as a whole is threatened by loss of data.
Fortunately, MSPs are in a perfect position to offer SMBs relief from the threat of data loss. MSPs can provide automated, continuously updated, cloud-based data backup as a managed service with reliability, price and convenience SMBs cannot achieve on their own. If close to half of SMBs have already suffered data loss, you can bet they never want to go through the experience again, and that the other half have heard about it and are interested in avoiding their peers' fate.