123 Reg logo Blog

1 in 10 small businesses never back up data

By Will Stevens - November 10, 2015

A tenth of small business owners never back up the data stored on their computer, meaning they could be seconds from total disaster. New research carried out by 123-reg shows that one in ten small businesses wouldn’t have anything to fall back on if they lost important data. Less than a third (30%) of respondents to the study said they backed up data more often than once a week, while 53.45% of small business owners back up once a month or less frequently, putting them at real risk of significant problems should they lose data.

Equally as worrying is the tendency for small business owners to underestimate how much damage data loss could do to their business. Just under a fifth (19%) of respondents said that after a data loss their company would continue without any problems, while 40% said their business would only face “some difficulties”. A further 5% said they hadn’t even considered the impact data loss would have on their business.

This is extremely worrying given that research shows 70% of small firms that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year. However, the 123-reg survey found only 28% of owners thought their business would face major difficulties after a loss of data, while 8% believed their business would face closure if they lost access to their data.


Small business owners also failed to accurately identify all major causes of data loss, with only 34% correctly saying device theft/loss, data theft, accidental device damage, natural disaster, hard drive failure and computer virus were all possible ways in which their data could be lost.

Even more worryingly, 6% said none of the leading causes of data loss posed a risk to their business, while a further 6% said they either didn’t know if they were at risk or hadn’t thought about it.

Although a natural disaster might seem an event unlikely to strike the average small business in the UK, the point is that you can never be certain what the future holds. The only way to ensure that your business doesn’t face difficulties after an unexpected incident is to make sure you’re prepared for any possible eventuality.

It may not feel like your small business has a huge amount of valuable data that needs protecting, but you’re probably wrong. Even if you lose basic information it can have major repercussions for your business. For example, if you lost shipping details, would you be able to complete your orders? If you lost details of future bookings, would you be able to complete them? What if you’re a wedding photograph and before you can send out the finished pictures of a client’s big day, your hard drive fails?

These might seem like nightmare scenarios, but they’re not impossible scenarios. The fact is, if you don’t know how data loss will affect your business and you don’t have a solid plan about how you will deal with a loss of data then it’s likely you’ll lose customers and your reputation will be damaged.

If you want to learn more about protecting your business from the unknown, you can read this guide.