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There is a phrase with which everyone is all too familiar, namely that there are lies, damned lies and statistics. Whilst this sentiment is all too true it would be unfair, and far too easy, to condemn all statistics out of hand. Equally, there is occasionally a survey that highlights a real issue. Last week, one such effort crossed my desk and struck a chord.
As part of research carried out to help small businesses with IT systems BT, in association with the United Kingdom’s Institute of Directors (IoD), conducted a survey that polled 394 companies. The results highlighted once again the very low priority placed upon the backup of data and the ability of organisations to recover information when required.
Chief amongst the results can be found that only 11 percent of those polled believed taking backups of data and electronic information to be one of their most important concerns—despite the undoubted importance of such data to the daily operations of business. Whilst everyone is happy to admit how important electronic data is, it is clear that the importance of backup and recovery procedures and capabilities continues to be seriously undervalued.
The survey also identified that amongst the small organisations, owners with limited technical IT knowledge and experience are responsible for IT systems in two out of five cases. In such companies it is small wonder that data and IT in general may often not get quite the level of protection required in the face of other business operational factors. However, some 82 percent of organisations acknowledge that they cannot function without access to their data.
The use of tape and CDs continue to be the most widely utilised data protection systems. The research went on to find that fewer than one business in five of those surveyed utilised remote backup facilities – a potentially disastrous failing if something like flood, fire or theft should befall offices of the organisation.
This latter finding clearly offers organisations such as BT the potential to provide businesses with services with which it has heretofore not been naturally associated, but which are now easily implemented utilising the broadband connectivity now routinely being installed by small businesses. BT now offers a range of remote backup services that run over broadband allowing information to be backed up to servers managed at BT operated data centres. Perhaps more importantly, such services can be fully automated to ensure that data is protected and that it can be recovered from any location in the future.
Whilst BT is well positioned to offer these remote backup and recovery services to small businesses, most SMBs need help in almost all areas of IT. The provision of quality IT services to SMBs is an area that will surely flourish—leaving such organisations to focus on the key drivers of their business rather than having to worry about the wonders and workings of the supporting IT infrastructure. This is a market that BT is very well placed to develop but it is likely to face increasing competition from many of the large IT vendor stalwarts such as IBM, HP and many others.