THE BLOG
11/15/2013 07:28 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Yeah, That's Right: We'd Rather Tidy Our Desks Than Backup Our Data. So What?

Shame on you AVG, shame on you. As a small business owner, must you ruin my day?

AVG Technologies is a client of mine and I blog for them. The company provides security and backup products and services that protects 172 million active users from data loss and this week released a survey that I, as a small business owner, found very upsetting. I recommend that every small business owner should just ignore it. It will just ruin your good mood. The information contained in that survey is in poor taste and offensive. It's so offensive that I feel compelled to report on it.

What is so offensive? Apparently, the survey revealed that more than one in three small business owners spend more time tidying their desks than worrying about their company's data security. It also says that more than one in five of us spend more time ordering business cards than worrying about security too. Yeah, so?

A clean and tidy desk projects an image of orderliness, stability and consistency. It is the type of image that a business leader wants to portray to his or her customers, employees and partners. It shows that we are organized and disciplined and can be trusted. And ask any marketing expert and you will find that a business card is a critical way to show your company's image to the world. Great business cards are eye catching, thought-provoking and conversation-making. Crafting the right card takes a great deal of thought. These are all very important things for growing one's company. And yet AVG is talking about data security? I mean, c'mon already.

Those little tidbits aside, the company had the gall to reveal some other facts in their press release. For example:

-While many small companies (75 percent) do rely on automated backup systems, a significant number, around (24 percent) do not insist that employees back up at least once a week. This is in spite of the fact that 30 percent believe more than half of their data is sensitive.

-Given the amount of sensitive data small businesses claim to have, the loss of employee mobile devices should cause concern. Approximately half of small businesses (47 percent) say they have experienced losing a mobile device.

-When asked about cloud-based backup, 64 percent of small business owners said security was their top concern.

The company also felt the need to reach out to me directly to share some additional facts not included in the press release, like:

-53 percent of U.S. small businesses have experienced some type of mobile device data loss. Yet two-thirds of U.S. small businesses are confident they can prevent data loss when an employee leaves.

-Almost one quarter of U.S. small businesses still leave longer than a week between backups.

-64 percent of U.S. small businesses say that security remains their biggest concern when it comes to cloud backup.

So here's how I interpret this data:

1. Security is really important for small businesses.
2. But we'd rather be tidying our desks or ordering new business cards.

So what? Get over it, AVG. Don't you get it? It's just not that important to us, OK? Sure there are many business owners who have admitted to data loss. And most of us regard data security as critically important. So why don't we do more about it? Because it's so booooooring. And it's such a downer to think about! We don't like to think about things that depress us. It's not in our DNA.

AVG is a Negative Nancy. We are Positive Peters. We see beautiful sunsets. AVG sees light filtered through smog. We see a delicious hamburger. AVG sees a future heart attack. The whole reason why we are entrepreneurs and business owners is because we are dreamers. Optimists. Risk-takers. Game-changers. We see the world through sparkly eyes. Our glasses are always half full. We hate negativity. If we wanted to be depressed about security and viruses and malware we'd go back to working at a big company. We don't like to talk about bad stuff. We hear enough of that from our accountants and companies that make security products. We want to innovate, talk about new ideas, fresh perspectives and ways to change the world.

So shame on you AVG. How dare you dampen our day? Who gave you the right to tell us that we're not paying attention to something as important as securing our company data? Clearly we know that's important. More than half of us have admitted to losing data so obviously we've suffered. But for goodness sake, must you belabor the point? Do you have to release even more data and conduct more surveys to prove just how remiss we are? Do you always have to be so gloom and doom? Can't we just run our companies and live our lives with the blissful attitude that all problems will eventually just take care of themselves and things will turn out alright in the end?

So fine, small businesses are not paying enough attention to our security and not doing a very good job backup up our data. Who cares? We've got better things to do with our time. Just leave us alone, AVG. Go pick on some other target group. How about those hipsters? Or the X Generation? Go and ruin their day.

Gene Marks also writes daily for The New York Times.