The study profiled several professions that routinely handle sensitive client information, including medical practices, legal, real estate, and financial service firms. It found that they were at even greater risk compared to generalized small and medium businesses to experience a significant loss of sensitive business information.
The survey found that while over two-thirds of all small-to-midsize businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees have a formal procedure for backing up company data, 87 percent have no formal policy in place regarding employees' use of personal devices for work purposes. One-third of companies let employees make their own decisions about how to back up company and client data on their devices, and most companies polled do not have backup or data recovery plans that meet modern standards for data protection. Forty-one percent of small businesses readily store and back up company data on portable USB devices - which may be used by family members, get lost, or even stolen.
Businesses Still Unaware of Risks
Legal professionals trailed the field, with 78 percent of lawyers reporting they were either not at all concerned, not that concerned or only somewhat concerned about the security of their company data for employees using personal devices for work. While financial services and medical firms are more concerned about the security of their company data than companies in real estate, construction, and law, the majority (more than two-thirds) in each of those industries expressed a lack of concern for risk of loss and security of company data. This lack of discipline creates unnecessary risk in the protection of company and customer data. The numbers do not lie: very important people have very important data that should be better protected.
Without adequate backup and other data security policies, many businesses are ill prepared to protect company and customer data in the event of a hard drive crash, loss or theft. The survey shows that 30 percent of companies suffered a hard drive crash in the past year. In 70 percent of those cases, data was not fully recovered.
The risk of lost or stolen data is more serious than ever with changing work habits and more employees holding sensitive company data on personal devices. With the start of the new year's business travel season and a larger number than ever of professionals on the road, they carry sensitive company or client data with them on their laptops, tablets and smartphones. The Mozy survey shows that one in nine businesses have experienced the theft of a laptop, and in 98 percent of such cases they were not able to recover all of the lost data.
While just over two-thirds of companies surveyed do have formal backup processes, most are using antiquated methods such as external hard drives with no online backup connection, or tape. Both are extremely susceptible to failure in the event of an on-site disaster.
New Season, Better Protection
"Companies can 'spring clean' by ensuring they have defined best practices and policies to protect sensitive company and client information," said Gytis Barzdukas, Director of Product Management at Mozy.
"If employees are using personal devices for work, companies should consider what kind of work can be performed on their devices, and how to ensure that confidential information is not at risk if the device is lost or stolen. If your company doesn't have a backup and data recovery policy today, they really should put even a basic plan in place. Using tape, server and thumb drives is a start, but any good backup plan should consist of having both a local and offsite copy," Barzdukas continued. "Mozy recommends that all company data - whether it resides on employee personal devices or company equipment - be automatically backed up to a secure, reliable location."
Mozy is the world's most trusted online backup service for consumers and businesses, with more than three million customers, 70,000 business users and 70 petabytes of information stored at its multiple data centers around the globe. Mozy was acquired by EMC Corporation in 2007 and operates as part of Decho Corporation, an EMC company. More information can be found at www.mozy.com .
About the Study
The study was executed by Compass Partners LLC, an independent market research firm focused on consumer technology. The study was fielded among 641 business decision makers responsible for the purchase of software and computer related services for small and medium businesses with 1 - 1,000 full-time employees. Field dates were October 24 through November 1, 2011. For each industry vertical sampled (each cell contained a minimum of 100 responses), the margin of error is +/- 9.8% at 95% confidence interval.