Seagate Technology plc, a pioneer in data storage solutions, reveals new research into the data habits of the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), suggesting that many British companies are finding it hard to store and manage their company’s data effectively.

The research polled a representative sample of 1,006 UK SMB employees, asking them about their employers’ data storage practices, preparedness for GDPR, cybersecurity policies, and how often they delete outdated files from their work computers and company servers.

 Over a fifth of SMBs rely on USB drives for company da  ta

  • Only 35% of SMBs have company storage centralised with on-site servers
  • 29% use cloud-based storage solutions, while a sizable 23% of SMB employees reported using portable storage such as USB drives as their primary way of storing company data

NAS drives allow businesses to store many different types of data in one location, as well as schedule regular backupsNAS drives for storing data

Storing company data in disparate locations represents a significant security risk, as well as making it time-consuming for staff to sift through lots of documents to find what they need. Rapidly-growing SMBs need data storage that can grow with them, which is why network-attached storage (NAS) drives are an ideal solution for UK businesses.

NAS drives allow businesses to store many different types of data in one location, as well as schedule regular backups, and because of this they are the safest, most secure and cost-effective way to centralise company data.

Difficulties in accessing data while working from home

Brits’ work habits are changing: at least 14% of employees in the UK work from home, according to the Office of National Statistics. Seagate’s research found that the proportion of employees who work from home is as much as two thirds of those surveyed, suggesting that SMBs are ahead of the curve on Brits’ preferred work habits. The rise of mobile devices has given many of us an expectation of being ‘always on’ and ready to work at a moment’s notice. However, UK SMBs are at risk of not taking full advantage of the potential productivity gains remote working provides:

  • Nearly half (49%) of UK SMB employees who work remotely report having difficulty accessing their work files out of the office
  • 46% of staff at companies with 50-99 employees run out of space for their data at least once per month

Four in ten (44%) of UK SMB workers either aren’t sure of their company’s GDPR policy, or say it doesn’t have oneData backup not enough for securing data

Flexible working is a valued benefit and a great way to attract and retain staff. SMBs can capitalise on their remote working offering by investing in on-site data storage solutions that guarantee staff will be able to achieve peak productivity regardless of whether they are in the office, at home, or travelling for business.  

UK SMBs have strong procedures for backing up their data, with backups happening 15.4 times per month, or approximately once every two days. Over a quarter (28%) of SMBs back up their data at least once per day. However, good data management is more than just backing up data promptly, and the research suggests that SMBs could be doing more to protect their data as they grow and consolidate their businesses:

  • Over half (52%) of workers at companies with 10-249 employees reported not deleting items off their work computers more frequently than once per month
  • Four in ten (44%) of UK SMB workers either aren’t sure of their company’s GDPR policy, or say it doesn’t have one
  • 15% of UK SMB workers say their company has suffered from a data breach or cyberattack. Almost a quarter (23%) of employees reported their company does not have a plan of action in the event of a data breach or cyberattack, and 37% did not know if there was a plan in place.

SMBs that take control of their company data will find that it pays dividends in the increased productivity and efficiency their employees will demonstrate when they are able to access the data they need"Ensuring data is safe and secure

SMBs can build on their existing backup processes by centralising their data in one place, and communicating to their employees the importance of following agreed procedures to ensure data is handled safely and effectively.

Alessandra de Paula, director of channel marketing EMEA at Seagate, said: “Britain has nurtured an impressive ecosystem of entrepreneurs and SMBs over the past few years. These businesses are ambitious, driven, and looking for rapid growth in markets often packed with incumbent big players. In this landscape it’s easy to appreciate why data management, data protection and regulatory compliance aren’t always top of the priority list.

Data availability results in productivity

However, data is the new currency of the digital age; and SMBs that take control of their company data will find that it pays dividends in the increased productivity and efficiency their employees will demonstrate when they are able to access the data they need, wherever they need it.

Seagate is a global provider of data storage solutions for businesses at every stage of their journey. Seagate’s IronWolf and IronWolf Pro drives, available in sizes up to 12TB, are an ideal solution for fast-moving small and medium-sized businesses looking to consolidate their on-site storage infrastructure and ensure they are ready for the latest developments in data security and management.

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