I, and several co-workers, took a hop, skip and a cab ride over to the Cloud Computing Expo 2011 in New York City last week. The speaker for the general session on “War in the Clouds: Are you Ready?” was quite grim (IMHO), but posed a very provocative question, “How expensive is your data loss?” I immediately thought of the many SMBs (small and medium businesses) worldwide in our annual surveys that lost company data and/or experienced a security breach. Needless to say, I proceeded to place a value on “data loss” once I returned to my desk…
Analyzing our in-house survey data, I pulled together a hefty total price tag. Give or take a few billion, SMBs globally have shelled out upwards of $188 billion to recover lost data or fix issues related to online attacks. This figure exceeds total ICT annual spending by SMBs across several countries. With this, I wonder whether or not SMBs would be better off storing more company data “in the cloud” versus on-premise –the real “war” appears to be at home.
Ironically, concerns around data security emerge as one of the main obstacles to SMB cloud adoption. But, an $188 billion loss reveals a much different issue… many SMBs are struggling to secure company assets. And consider how employees are gaining more and more opportunities to expose companies to increased risks. Just count the number of wireless-enabled Smart phones and tablets that your company didn’t issue, but employees decided to purchase on their own and use for work. How much of that company data being accessed by these devices is really protected?
With more SMBs migrating, storing and managing data off-premise, we will know soon enough if the cloud favorably impacts such SMB data security issues. And as for the general session speaker, in the words of my colleague, “He’s got us still talking about it, so he must’ve done his job.”
This posting does not necessarily represent the opinions, recommendations or strategies of AMI Partners. Jacqueline Atkinson is the Research Manager at AMI Partners, and can be reached at JAtkinson@ami-partners.com.