Data loss, security breaches and inefficient document management – a single incident can cost a small business up to £65,000.
Is your IT support handling more than day-to-day problems? You may be unaware you’re even facing a major IT problem - until an issue with data loss, a need to meet data compliance regulations or an audit pops up and reveals the ugly, costly truth.
The costs associated with data loss are rapidly climbing. After following 125 companies based around the world, research analysts Aberdeen Group found that the cost per hour of downtime had increased by 65% between 2010 and 2012. Here are 3 big dangers which could prove costly - and even deadly - to your business.
The steep increase in the value of data reflects the increasing automation of many business processes. But in reality, just how vulnerable is an organisation or the information it looks after for clients?
Although there are widely quoted figures of between 60% and 80% of companies going out of business following a major data loss, the original source for this remains lost in the mists of the internet. If it ever existed.
Regardless, a major, irrecoverable, data loss is a symptom of a bigger IT mismanagement issue with significant financial repercussions in loss of sales, staff productivity, and operational inefficiency.
‘Third-party’ hacking, where criminals break into your systems to steal data, is on the increase for small businesses, up 11% in 2012.
Of greater concern for small businesses is finding that the biggest security breaches come from employee errors - a particular worry in sectors with hefty fines tied to regulation and compliance breaches.
Nearly one in five (17%) of the respondents in this survey were aware staff broke data protection regulations. And the survey estimates that the cost of a data breach to a small business is between £30,000 and £65,000.
Small organisations still have difficulty finding crucial paper-based documents that have been misfiled, or in a difficult to access paper storage system. Professionals currently spend around 20% of their time simply looking for information. Less than ideal in, for example, an audit.
Test, test, and test again
Back up tapes and hard disks take time and effort to restore data. If the data can be retrieved at all. Test backup systems, make sure outsourced backups are secure, and look at more efficient means of data storage such as hosted services.
Share the knowledge
How do your network systems work? Does just one person in your company know how to operate the database? Share this knowledge around, or work with an outsourced supplier to ensure all important documents can be quickly retrieved and accounted for.
Automate your data
Electronic data can be searched in multiple ways. It is very difficult to misfile an electronic paper.
Modernise IT security
Check that data security takes account of modern office practices to minimise employee errors and data breaches. Does your IT policy support devices that employees may bring in from home, such as tablets and smartphones? Create a policy for free, less secure, hosted services that employees may use, such as Dropbox.