Survey: Majority of U.K. SMBs use cloud-based IT infrastructure

February 15, 2012

Data backup and disaster recovery are among the most essential enterprise IT tasks, but many small and medium-sized businesses are still conducting these functions on site, increasing the risk of data loss and downtime.

Acronis, a provider of disaster recovery and data protection solutions, recently published a global survey of SMBs regarding their use of cloud technology, virutualization, data backup and recovery systems. According to the report, many United Kingdom SMBs are using cloud-based infrastructure, yet few have migrated backup and disaster recovery functions to a cloud environment. Meanwhile, the majority of U.K. companies are storing data on virtual servers, but 67 percent back up their VMs infrequently.

"Virtualization has become more affordable and relatively easy for SMBs - the high growth rate of adoption should not be a surprise," said David Blackman of Acronis. "However, as protecting data is one of the most fundamental requirements for any business today, it's particularly disappointing that VMs get such poor treatment. Some businesses are potentially playing Russian roulette with their virtual backups and, if their luck runs out, will face very real and potentially very messy consequences."

The survey revealed 85 percent of SMBs have some type of cloud-based IT infrastructure, and those companies are expected to adopt cloud services like Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service in the near future. Still, the majority of businesses are leaving themselves vulnerable to costly data loss incidents, as 35 percent don't have an offsite backup strategy and 50 percent physically transfer backup tapes or disks to offsite locations.

Experts say cloud computing is a viable, low-cost solution for data backup and disaster recovery, yet only 17 percent of SMBs are using the cloud for this intention. Respondents cited multiple reasons for why they expect to adopt more cloud products this year, including lower operating costs, improved reliability of backups and fewer staff and management resources, according to the report.

Natural disasters and other events caused downtime and data loss for many businesses last year, making it vital for organizations of all sizes to devise a detailed backup and recovery plan. In a recent ZDNet report, technology columnist Alan Priestly said cloud-based disaster recovery has become an attractive option for SMBs because of its ability to decrease data center space, subsequently reducing costs.

-McAfee Cloud Security