Four million UK businesses vulnerable to losing company data, research shows

Almost a million UK businesses do not backup their company data and a further 2.8 million firms risk losing valuable information by storing electronic copies in the same location as the original data, according to new research from Beaming, the business ISP.

Beaming’s survey of business leaders, undertaken by the research company Opinium, shows that while most (83 percent) of UK firms perform a data backup of some sort, half save it to servers or storage devices in the same premises. 44 percent of small businesses, 42 percent of medium sized firms and 34 percent of large organisations currently store backup information in the same location as it is generated, leaving them vulnerable to data loss through theft, fire or malware attack.

17 percent of businesses keep no data backups whatsoever and store information only on individual computers and employee devices. Sole traders and micro companies employing less than 10 people are most likely to be guilty of not making use of the data backup options available to them.

Only a third (35 percent) of UK businesses currently store their backup data to outside of the office:

  • 15 percent of sole traders and 13 percent of micro businesses backup their data to cloud storage services from companies such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon
  • 24 percent of small and 18 percent of medium sized businesses require employees to physically take backups of data home on portable storage devices
  • 33 percent of large and 32 percent of medium sized companies copy data to their own servers located in dedicated data centres or colocation facilities

Less than a fifth (18 percent) of businesses currently backup their data to facilities located at least 30 miles from their own premises, the minimum distance recommended by business continuity experts to limit the IT impact of natural disasters. Most of these companies adhering the ‘30 mile rule’ are using cloud-base storage services and do not know precisely where their data is held.

Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, comments: “Our research shows that almost four million UK businesses are vulnerable to data loss from single events and could potentially become unable to operate. Most businesses, particularly at the smaller end, don’t do enough to safeguard their information.”

“The introduction of GDPR has highlighted the need for secure and resilient data storage in order to mitigate the risk of significant data loss. We’d encourage businesses to think seriously about data backup options such as private cloud or co-location services when it comes to storing highly sensitive data or mission critical applications. These should only be accessed through the most secure forms of connectivity.”

Business data backup methods


Beaming engaged the research consultancy Opinium to survey the leaders of 514 UK businesses on their approaches to data backups and storage. The survey results were multiplied by UK Government business population figures to estimate the total number of businesses falling into each category.

More advice on safely using the cloud is available in our Business Guide to Cyber Security.

If you’re thinking of moving to the cloud, read our blog: What do you need to consider when putting data in the cloud?


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