Small and medium sized businesses in Canada remain vulnerable to data loss and security breaches, according to a recent survey by Primus Business Services .

Almost 60 percent of SMBs surveyed currently invest less than 10 percent of their budgets in data security even though they are seriously concerned about business data security and integrity.

Furthermore, 74 percent say they have not obtained secure off-site storage for their critical business data, and perhaps more troubling is that 72 percent claim they do not currently monitor or manage their data on a 24x7 basis.

Half of all respondents report that part of the reason for this behaviour is a concern with the security of hosting in the cloud. Interestingly, 40 percent of those worried about security said they would "feel more secure if cloud services had full unified threat management/firewall protection (or) if the cloud was a single-tenant environment."

Key factors in dispelling cloud anxiety, as listed by by 48 percent of respondents, was around-the-clock management and alerting.

Matt Stein, Sr. VP of Network, Technology and Planning at Primus Canada said: "Cloud computing is still a relative enigma, but its inherit security, cost and most importantly, time management benefits, will imminently bring it into the mainstream of Canadian business. However, it is critical that business decision makers look for providers that offer enterprise quality operational, management and security procedures in a truly scalable model."

The study also indicates that of the Canadian businesses polled, only 14 percent host data in the cloud or employ any form of cloud computing technology. Recent data from global cloud service provider Parallels at its 2012 Summit in Orlando, FL, showed a marked difference in US adoption as that SMB market experienced a 25 percent increase in 2011, growing to $15.1 billion USD. Parallels reports that SMB cloud adoption is a global phenomenon as the worldwide SMB cloud market is expected to grow at 26 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) to $68 billion by 2014.

Approximately 453 small business owners and IT decision makers in Canada employing between 2 to 499 employees participated in the Primus survey.