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Nov 28, 2008

Small firms should give more priority to data-loss protection

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Power failures were the single biggest factor contributing to data loss for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the past year, according to the annual SME Survey 2008.

Fifteen per cent of the over 5 000 companies surveyed stated that they had suffered as a result of not making adequate backups.

While the backup of company information is of the utmost importance, head researcher for the survey and World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck says that a mere 49% of SMEs back up data daily or continually.

Only 10% of the SMEs surveyed back up their company information continually and 39% do so on a daily basis.

"These are the only business owners which are taking good care of themselves and ensuring no loss of productivity," he adds.

Goldstuck notes that it is worrying that one-half of SMEs are not sufficiently diligent in terms of backing up their information, adding that the 20% of SMEs that make weekly backups are "at some risk". However, the risk increases dramatically for the 15% who only back up on a monthly basis. "Then there are the 9% which don't know if or when backups are made at all - they are a disaster waiting to happen."

He says that only 46% of companies have a disaster recovery plan that enables them to retrieve lost data.

According to Goldstuck, solution providers should take advantage of the "glaring gap" that is present in the SMEs landscape by assisting the SMEs to improve their data-protection systems.

SMEs, however, do protect themselves in terms of usage, as 84% of businesses have an antivirus programme, but 16% still remain vulnerable to threats. Seventy-eight per cent of SMEs have Spyware protection.

"This is a more specialised form of protection as it builds onto most antivirus programmes, but is still sometimes a separate application," he notes.

Only 61% of SMEs have a firewall protecting their systems. A firewall protection is available with most Windows operating systems, but Goldstuck suggests that most companies may not be aware of how to initiate this tool on the systems.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
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