Study Finds SMBs Engaging in Unsafe Back-up and WiFi Practices

— December 07, 2010

The economy might be on an uptick, but that doesn’t mean small business owners aren’t cutting-costs to make sure the financial troubles seen in the past two years don’t come back to haunt them.

According to a new survey by Lenovo-AMD of 722 small business owners and employees, a number of companies are resorting to questionable IT practices in order to trim a few dollars off the bottom line, including backing up data to USB thumb drives and leeching wireless Internet connections from nearby, unprotected WiFi access points.

“I think there is a knowledge gap, but I think the smaller the size of the business the less focus on IT type functions, because they are focused on running their business day-to-day,” says Charles Suñé, SMB portfolio manager, Lenovo. “This is an opportunity for VARs to educate their customers and provide solutions that will meet those customers’ needs.”

A whopping 50 percent of people surveyed said that they use disposable media to back up their critical data, including USB thumb drives/memory sticks and DVDs/CDs. While 40 percent said that they use some form of external drive, few said that they use a cloud-based or off property solution that would protect data in the event of a fire or some local disaster. Only 13 percent said that they were using a cloud backup service and only 43 percent said they new about online backup offerings.

A shocking 25 percent of respondents said that they use open or public WiFi networks to connect to the Internet for business purposes. It’s unknown whether they were connecting to these networks in lieu of paying for their own Internet service, or whether they were connecting while traveling (for example, at a coffee shop or book store).

The survey also found, unsurprisingly, that 85 percent of the respondents work from somewhere other than their offices and 72 percent can’t stop checking their work e-mail—even when on vacation. The most popular mobile device—the laptop with 38 percent, followed by smartphones with 31 percent. However, 70 percent of interviewees said that they are not using voice over Internet protocol.

“We see some real opportunities that emerge from [the data] where value-added resellers or managed service providers can provide services above and beyond break/fix solutions and help them reduce costs,” said Suñé.

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