Data backup: enter a new era
A florist in Rennes is becoming the European market leader due to the opening of an e-commerce website. A Burgundian caterer adopts a billing tool and saves more than 35 hours of work per month. A medical office offers its customers to make their appointment online. All these examples are taken from the latest Deloitte report on the digitalization of very small firms and small and medium-sized businesses.
Despite their false traditional image, VSFs and SMBs have developed a dependence on digital technologies. Their activities are based on their IT ecosystems: business tools, mobility, administration management, communication with customers and suppliers, etc. Data is no longer just used to irrigate their IT ecosystems. They are now at the heart of their businesses.
One thing has not changed: the backwardness of the markets. In the absence of tools adapted to their specific needs, VSFs and SMBs remain stuck in the 2000s! Some innovative players are just starting to make a difference. Cybersecurity experts are working on data backup solutions dedicated to VSFs and SMBs and could save them several decades of digital transformation.
VSF and SMBs and data protection: a growing challenge, overly complex solutions
Data backup is a perfect field in which to study the rise in digital skills of VSFs and SMBs. They are facing an explosion of cyber threats first. According to the France Digital report, 41% of VSFs and 44% of SMBs surveyed suffered one or more computer attacks in 2019. The study lists phishing (24%), the use of malware (20%), the use of ransomware (16%), and fraud against the president (6%) as risks to which all French VSEs and SMEs are exposed.
Data loss is one of the main damages suffered by small businesses; however cyber threats are not the only ones involved. A Kroll Ontrack study points out that in 84% of cases, data loss is linked to human error. Faced with the increasingly serious risks hanging over their activities, VSFs and French SMBs remain widely poor. Several obstacles slow down their adoption of an adequate data backup tool:
- The prohibitive cost of most existing solutions, which have been designed for the volumes and budgets of larger companies;
- The lack of internal skills ready to take charge of a new digital tool independently and efficiently, or to ensure that data backup respects the GDPR;
- The limited time resources of small businesses, whose digital experts have little time to train or even learn accordingly to the rapidly evolving cyber security threats and data protection regulations;
- and finally, the resistance to change, which is particularly strong when it comes to migration from one tool to another – this being perceived as the abandonment of an investment, and therefore a waste of scarce resources.
So far, the market has failed to offer a data backup solution accessible to VSFs and SMBs. Due to a lack of education and the will to adapt to their needs, IT publishers place small businesses in a risky and confusing situation.
It is this market flaw, more than a lack of effort on the part of VSFs and SMBs, which explains why some of them have barely changed their data backup plan since the 2000s.
2000-2010: The era of data storage
We could reassure ourselves by learning, in the France Digital study, that 98% of VSFs and SMBs declare that they have at least one “backup tool”. Unfortunately, 68% of the time it is a simple external storage tool, such as a hard drive, or even a simple USB drive. In other words, the majority of small French companies in 2019 approach the protection of one of their main assets in the same way as they did in the 2000s.
2000s: what are the challenges for VSFs and SMBs?
Faced with the acceleration of digitization, companies are looking to store their data on external devices. Their objective, at the time, was to manage to store data despite the exponential increase in their volume.
The limits of data storage
Data storage depends on data isolation from their digital ecosystem. In addition to a marked risk of technical flaws, this “dead” data cannot constitute the basis for a rapid return to normal activity after an IT crisis.
2011-2019: The era of data protection
During the 2010s, small businesses deepened their awareness of the impact of data loss on their businesses. At the same time, they observed the acceleration of the digital transformation of larger companies. However, they only had access to part of the new technologies that they used.
2010s: what are the challenges for VSFs and SMBs?
Among the new data protection technologies, VSFs and SMBs are gradually taking hold of those that they can adapt to their scale. According to the France Digital study, 49% of them now have a cloud solution. The tape or replication market on NAS and DDE is also growing.
The limits of data protection
If they are more efficient at preserving data, the cloud or NAS are sorely lacking in agility when it comes to restoring them after a disaster. The productivity of operational functions is automatically impacted.
2020 : The era of preservation of the digital ecosystem of VSFs and SMBs
After almost two decades of trial and error and rapid change, small businesses have finally changed their focus. It’s no longer about protecting their data. They need to protect their productivity.
The objective of the data backup strategy that the most innovative players have implemented during the last two years is to help VSFs and SMBs to maintain their activities through any IT crisis.
Guarantee the productivity of VSFs and SMBs
Where a large business has the human, technological, and financial resources to deal with an IT crisis, small businesses work without a safety net. They have very little internal means to deal with a disaster, or worse, an attack. Because of their limited room for manoeuvre, small businesses cannot be satisfied with a simple “insurance”, which compensates them in the event of data loss. The digitalization of their activities no longer leaves them with a choice: they must be able to return to work without interruption.
Faced with such challenges, data storage and backup tools are necessary, but insufficient. Small businesses need business tools to maintain their productivity in case of any IT crisis – from physical damage to their storage device to cyber-attack and human error. They must put in place a disaster recovery plan, so that they can restore their system and their data a few seconds after a digital disaster.
Ensure the protection of data confidentiality
The IT disaster is not the only risk hovering over the backup of data from very small businesses. They too are subject to regulations, of which the GDPR is only the most recent iteration, and which puts organizations with much larger resources in difficulty. Some small businesses choose to be accompanied by a legal expert; but this expensive option remains out of reach for most of them. Most would like a 360° solution: data backup tools that integrate the compliance of their storage databases with regulations, including limited access and file encryption.
Support the skills development in small businesses
The rise in skills of VSFs and SMBs on the issues regarding cyber security in general, and data backup in particular, is also a question of human resources. The majority of small businesses do not have internal talent to ensure their digital transformation independently; this time it’s the job market they’re missing.