Our businesses depend on our systems, with some-type of computer device always within reach. We also store more and more of our organization’s data in digital form; from banking and tax returns, to customer records, invoices and business plans. This means that data loss is becoming increasingly catastrophic with larger impact than ever before.
If you have struggled with keeping you data safe – you’re not alone. This challenge affects every person and business with no shortages of real life examples of data loss. The worst part is, it can happen without warning and even sometimes be undetected for a long time until that data is again needed.
Luckily there are many things you can do to keep your valuable, and often critical data safe. Here is a review of the types of data loss and how to prevent them.
1. PHYSICAL LOSS
Mostly due to human error, and we all make mistakes. We can all relate forgetting that important USB in a pocket and running it through the wash or accidentally dropping a laptop off the desk.
As our devices get smaller, they also become easier to misplace or steal. That’s why it’s important to duplicate important data in several locations. Consider cloud backup or enterprise backup options for small devices so that if you lose, break, or drown the hardware – you won’t lose your data.
PROTECTING FROM PHYSICAL LOSS: REGULAR BACKUPS, SECURE DATA CENTRES/CLOUD, PHYSICAL SECURITY MEASURES LIKE AN ALARM SYSTEM AND SECURITY TRACKER IN SMALLER DEVICES
No matter how prepared you think you are, natural disasters can find ways to remind us just how insignificant we are with massive storms, raging wildfires that defy control and catastrophic flooding. Beyond nature’s wrath, our own human infrastructure also has its limits. An unexpected power surge or power outage can have similar effects.
What makes natural disasters particularly scary is that they prove the old adage, one backup is no backup. If you’re backing up your data only locally, a fire that sweeps through your office would destroy both your data AND your backup. That’s why offsite backup is an important option to consider. It’s not often a robust data centre will go down and most providers offer a guaranteed uptime of 99.99%.
PROTECTING FROM DISASTERS: REGULAR BACKUPS, BACKING UP OFF-SITE, DISASTER RECOVERY AND BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING
3. CORRUPTION AND FAILURE
Computers aren’t perfect as anyone who has faced the blue screen of death can tell you. When a program freezes, data operations stop. Any work that was unsaved can potentially be lost and even that which is saved can become corrupted.
Failures can result from any number of issues from hardware malfunction to software problems. A few common issues are running too many apps at one time or using out of date software. The software that you’re working in can freeze or crash. The operating system itself or drivers it relies on can fail. A failure can even result from faulty hardware, like a power supply or the disc drive of your computer’s hard drive.
PROTECTING FROM CORRUPTION AND FAILURE: REGULAR BACKUPS, KEEPING MULTIPLE COPIES OF YOUR BACKUPS, PROACTIVE IT MAINTENANCE OF YOUR HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
Unfortunately, the reality is that cybercrime is incredibly profitable. As business operations have become more digital more important data becomes prone to cyberattack.
Attackers will use any method they can to get your data, not just the old fashioned way of stealing computers and disk drives. They will use viruses to steal information or compromise data. The newest trend is ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malware that locks users out of their systems or their data until a ransom payment is made. Payment would be made through a credit card or another modern invention, cryptocurrency like bitcoin.
PROTECTING FROM CYBER ATTACKS: REGULAR BACKUPS, EMPLOYEE CYBERSECURITY TRAINING, AND MULTI-LAYERED CYBERSECURITY PROTECTION
Sometimes you delete a file by accident. Sometimes you empty the recycle bin before you really meant to. Sometimes you accidentally delete the Oscar-awarding movie Toy Story 2 (if you can believe, it happened twice).
Accidental deletion becomes more likely when you have automated deletion options such as command line scripts and also when you have shared assets that multiple people are working on. It’s important to be clear about when to delete and who has the responsibility to do so.
What will save you every time is saving often and having good data retention procedures.
PROTECTING FROM ACCIDENTS: REGULAR BACKUPS, BACKING UP OFF-SITE, DATA RETENTION PROCEDURES
You may have noticed a theme in the prevention tips above: regular backups, backing up off-site, and regular maintenance. Data loss isn’t a hypothetical risk. It’s one that can cripple your business. Luckily you can protect your data with planning, preparation, and prevention.
Managing data backups is an essential part of a data recovery plan. Employee education and a cybersecurity-oriented corporate culture can help keep hostile threats, accidental deletion, and physical damage under control. Monitoring backups and your network can ensure that your data, once backed up, stays ready for when you need it.
Review what your company’s needs are and how you are currently handling each of the types of potential data loss above. If you need help, contact a cybersecurity expert to make sure you have the right security measures in place to keep your business safe and secure.